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Local school leaders applaud House proposal to restore lottery fund distribution

educationEducation leaders from across the Commonwealth are applauding the Virginia House of Delegates plan to restore lottery fund distributions to local school divisions.  The House budget sends 31 percent of lottery funds, or $272 million, back to local school divisions.  This mechanism gives local schools more flexibility by not requiring matching funds or mandating how the funds must be spent.  This is part of the House’s $897.1 million education package, which is larger than the budgets proposed by Governor McAuliffe and the Senate.  The House budget also funds the state’s share of a two percent teacher pay raise in the second year of the budget.

“I am proud of the investments the House is proposing across the spectrum in K-12 education, but the restoration of lottery proceeds distribution this year is a game-changer for local school divisions,” said Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “Our budget sends 31% of lottery proceeds, which is $272 million, back to localities with no local match.  This proposal gives local school leaders the flexibility to meet their own unique needs and reduces the tax burden on local governments by not requiring local matching funds.  Our goal is to fully restore the 40% distribution, which was the policy prior to 2010.”

“We believe that parents, teachers and local school leaders are in the best position to make educational decisions. Our budget proposal emphasizes flexibility,” said Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “By restoring the distribution of lottery funding, we are sending more money to our local schools with fewer strings attached.”

“The foundation of the House’s budget proposal is a critical investment in school divisions across the Commonwealth,” said Chesterfield School Board member Dianne Smith.  “The increased funding over the introduced budget in lottery funding recognizes that each school division has unique and diverse needs.  School leaders continue to seek increased flexibility in the funds we receive, and these principles are a cornerstone of this proposal.”

“The House budget provides much needed programmatic flexibility for additional resources to invest in our top priorities,” said Virginia Beach School Board Chair Dan Edwards.  “The loss of lottery funds in 2010 hurt our ability to meet the unique needs of Virginia Beach’s Public schools.  Restoring this funding will give us badly needed new revenue.  By not requiring a local match, the House is removing a significant obstacle for local schools.  This proposal will give our schools real dollars that will yield positive results.”

“Every budget cycle, we face mandates on how to spend our education dollars. The flexibility that the House’s budget proposal includes allows us to direct the funds to the most needed areas without having to raise taxes or find matching funds. The House’s budget goes one step beyond the Governor’s proposal to support local public schools. I want to thank our leaders in the House for their support and leadership on this issue,” said Gene Bishop, Floyd County School Board Member.

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