Fund Our Schools in the Final State Budget!!!
Take Action Below in 1 minute
Where we are!
On February 10th, the Virginia House and Senate each proposed a version of the state budget. Both made important new investments in K-12 support, but neither came close to providing the level of funding the Board of Education said is needed to provide an adequate education for all Virginia students. The House and Senate have until the last week of February to negotiate a joint “Conference Budget” to be sent to the governor for consideration.
What we are calling on lawmakers to do?
Lawmakers must take a combination of the best approaches from the House and Senate budgets, and go even further, investing new state revenue to meet standards set by the Board of Education. It is imperative that state lawmakers respond to inequities exacerbated by the pandemic and direct more resources to our highest needs schools.
Fund Our Schools priorities for conference budget:
Use new state revenue to fully fund the Equity Fund, as proposed by the Virginia Board of Education.
Provide the House’s 5% pay raise for teachers and school staff in FY22, with no revenue contingency language.
Protect the No Loss funding for schools, as the Governor and Senate proposed. The House proposal cuts some No Loss funding and forces school divisions to tap into federal aid dollars to make up the difference. These cuts will impact divisions with the highest shares of students of color the most.
Fund the 4 to 1,000 support staff to student ratio that the Board of Education says is needed. The Senate’s proposal would ensure a ratio of 3 positions to every 1,000 students and includes language to increase the ratio by one support position if revenues come in ahead of forecast. Lawmakers should remove the contingency language and fully fund these essential support positions so students have adequate mental health and emotional support services.
The final budget should include all funding for lost learning time, including: $30 million from lottery funds from the Senate, along with $30 million for school grants and $51 million from the COVID-19 Relief Fund in the House budget.
Include $51 million in funds to reach the nationally - and Board of Education - recommended threshold of one counselor for every 250 students at the start of the next school year. The current proposal of a 1 to 325 ratio is arbitrary and does not reflect best practices or student need.
Take Action Now (1 minute)
Send an email below using the template email to leadership in the House and Senate letting them know you support the Fund Our Schools priorities for the final budget.
For extra impact, customize your message, adding personal reasons why school funding is important to you and change the subject line of the email. Find more details on K-12 budget priorities in the Fund Our Schools talking points here.