House Democrats urge bipartisan support for education funding

After SchoolToday, the House Democratic Caucus released a statement urging House Republicans to support a state budget that includes badly needed funding for Virginia schools:
“We applaud the number of education reform bills passing in the General Assembly, and commend our Republican colleagues for working with us to help implement the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee’s Agenda. From using alternative assessments, to expedited retakes, to reassessing our state’s school accreditation system, the bills making their way through the legislature will help strengthen Virginia’s schools.
“However, the bipartisan reform agenda ignores one of the biggest issues in education – funding. Reform is nice, but it is not enough. Our schools need money. State funding is $229 per pupil lower than it was in 2008, a 12.2% decrease when adjusted for inflation. Localities have been asked to take on more of the financial burden for schools.
“Across Virginia, schools have tightened their belts; some teachers are working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and schools aren’t able to provide the resources and staff necessary to give students the quality education they need to become successful citizens. As the State Board of Education has said, funding will impact the ability of our schools. To strengthen our education system, we need to increase investment in teacher salaries, and increase per pupil spending. The General Assembly cannot continue to ignore the dire need for state funding for our schools.
“In a new Virginia economy, all children across the Commonwealth should have access to quality education. As we finalize our state’s budget, we cannot support any proposal that cuts funding for Pre-K through 12. We urge our Republican colleagues join us in supporting a budget that increases per pupil funding for our schools. Our students and teachers deserve our help.”

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