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Pushing for State Funding, VEA Launches Lobbying, Advertising Effort


Lawmakers in the General Assembly this month are rolling up their sleeves to craft a two-year budget for the state. As they do, VEA is launching a member lobbying and advertising campaign to make sure legislators know that public schools need increased support.

The state budget supporting schools still has not recovered levels reached prior to the “Great Recession.” In fact, budgeted state funding of schools, in inflation-adjusted dollars, declined 14.5 percent between 2009 and 2016. Other signs of the state’s retreat in its commitment to Virginia public schools:

  • Virginia has fallen to 41st in the country on state funding of schools on a per-pupil basis, a key measure of state support for K-12 education.
  • Without adequate funding from the state, teacher pay in the Commonwealth has fallen to $6,759 under the national average. (At one time, Virginia had climbed to within a few hundred dollars of the national average.)
  • A recent study by the Education Law Center at Rutgers University ranked Virginia worst in the nation in its measure of “wage competitiveness.” That’s bad news for Virginia public schools seeking top candidates from colleges and universities, given the pay gap between those who enter teaching and those who enter other professions.
  • The Commonwealth Institute says Virginia schools have endured “11,000 missing positions” since 2007-08. That’s the figure that takes into account job losses and positions not filled despite growth in student enrollment.

The notion that public schools need a better budget from the state is drawing support from editorials in influential newspapers:

“Legislative opponents of public education, starting in 2009, have gone into Virginia’s complex educational funding system and rewired the circuitry to reduce costs. If you change the formulas…you change the financial outcomes. That’s how $800 million a year got lost.”
Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 31, 2016

“Virginia needs to reverse its slide, catch up with the competition from other states and better enable its residents to seize the economic opportunities that are here—and coming down the pike.”
Free Lance-Star, Jan. 15, 2016

 

Ads on Radio, TV, and Online
Throughout the month of February, VEA will run advertising on radio, cable TV, and online properties calling attention to the Commonwealth’s underfunding of schools and urging Virginians to press their representatives to make public education a funding priority. Richmond will also host digital billboards displaying the VEA’s message, “Virginia Schools = Our Best Investment.”

Watch our Commercial on School Funding
Watch our Commercial on Teacher Pay  
 Watch our commercial on School Funding  Watch our commercial on Teacher Pay

 

Take Action Now!

Budget conferees are now meeting to determine the K-12 state spending plan. Both the House and Senate proposals have elements worth fighting for. A message from you can help conferees make the right call.

Email House budget conferees.
Email Senate budget conferees.


ACTION ALERT

Virginia Capital

Fund Our Schools Now





 

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