July 8, 2015
Education Funding in Virginia: Division Fact Sheets
For six years, local schools all across Virginia have been feeling the pinch created by deep cuts to state funding for education, as shown in our new round of local education funding infographics.
In the wake of the recession, lawmakers made changes to the formula the state uses to allocate education funding in order to save money in the state budget. But that has left many schools out in the cold, forced to rely on more funding from already cash-strapped localities or make deep cuts that hurt students and teachers. At the same time, the recession has left more of Virginia’s students in need. Since 2007, the percent of students living in poverty has grown by 21 percent. Students in struggling families often need more support both in and out of the classroom to get ahead. So at a time when the needs of their students have been rising, many schools are serving more students with fewer resources.
As the governor builds the next two-year budget, he should increase investment in our schools. He can start with lifting the arbitrary cap on support positions, like social workers, school psychologists, and school maintenance staff, put in place in the wake of the recession. He should also aim to bring teachers’ salaries up to the national average and use state funds to help schools with badly needed construction projects.
Doing right by our students and teachers doesn’t come cheap, but now is the time to stop the pain that students and parents in many communities have been feeling for years, even if it means raising additional revenues.
We’ve been slacking when it comes to investing in one of our state’s most important priorities, and now’s the time to do what’s right for Virginia’s students.
–Mitchell Cole, Policy Analyst