July 18, 2016
Be Heard by School Funding Decision Makers
A series of public hearings the state Board of Education is holding on the needs of public schools is an excellent opportunity for Virginians to tell the Board that cuts in support for education have hurt schools and kids and stand in the way of helping all communities to thrive.
These meetings are important. The Constitution of Virginia charges the Board with the authority to prescribe the Standards of Quality that set the bar for how much support Virginia’s students get. Your voice at these meetings will help the Board get that the bar has fallen too low.
The General Assembly made significant cuts to the Standards of Quality during the recession and slow recovery. Those cuts weren’t based on changes in the actual costs schools face. Instead, they were simply tactics used to reduce state spending – rather than raise much-needed revenues – during a time of financial strain. The Board can recommend that the General Assembly restore these funds so that schools can meet the Standards of Quality as they were originally prescribed.
Virginia also lags many other states in its support for students from families struggling to get by. Totaling up all of the state’s support for low-income, Virginia provided just 14 to 19 percent more for each low-income student than for other students in 2014. This lags the average 29 percent boost provided by states with this support, and it’s well behind the amount that research shows it takes to enable kids to catch up with students from families with more resources. The Board can recommend additional assistance be given to these students, and should renew its request that the state study how much assistance is needed.
The next hearing will be at 6:30 pm Tuesday, July 19 at Lafayette High School’s auditorium in Williamsburg. Other meetings will be in Abingdon and Lynchburg in August. The full schedule is here.
–Chris Duncombe, Policy Analyst