Virtual education legislation passes in Virginia House of Delegates

dickie bellThe Virginia House of Delegates has passed legislation to establish a statewide virtual school to provide full-time virtual school programs here in Virginia. This legislation, patroned by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton), passed the House on February 16 with a vote of 58-40-1.

This legislation will establish the Virginia Virtual School, which is for full-time virtual only. Students who attend this school will be subject to the same Standards of Quality, including SOLs and standards of accreditation, of any other brick and mortar school. Special education services for students needing it can also be received through the school. Most importantly, this bill allows any student in Virginia to enroll in the School should their parents choose, and gives the parents the flexibility to choose any approved multi-division online provider.

“I am pleased that the Virginia House of Delegates has once again shown strong support for virtual education here in the Commonwealth” said Delegate Bell. “While virtual education may not be the answer for every student, we need to provide this as an option. We have a responsibility to our children to provide an education to them in the environment that most meets their needs. For some of our children, this is undoubtedly virtual education. Over 30 states have already established statewide full-time virtual schools, and I believe Virginia should be next. I look forward to continuing these discussions in the Senate.”

Delegate Bell carried similar legislation in the 2015 Session, which passed both Houses and was signed by the Governor with re-enactment language. Several improvements to the bill were adopted by the House Appropriations committee, putting the bill in a stronger posture. The legislation will now be considered by the State Senate.

Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, portions of Augusta and Nelson Counties, and the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro. He is currently serving in his fourth term.

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