BILLS ON EDUCATOR PAY, NBCT, SOQ ON THE MOVE IN SENATE
January 12, 2024
January 12, 2024
The Senate Education and Health Committee along with the Senate Ed & Health Subcommittee on Public Education did not waste any time this week hearing bills dealing with school funding and other important matters.
The Senate Education Committee met on Thursday, January 11th. The first order of business was to officially make introductions of new committee members and officially announce subcommittee structures. Watch the video clip below to meet the new committee members of the Senate Education and Health Committee:
The Senate Education and Health Committee took action to pass two very important VEA legislative initiatives, Senate Bill 104 and 105. SB104, sponsored by Sen. Louis Lucas requires state funding to be provided pursuant to the general appropriation act in a sum sufficient to fund a three percent increase for Standards of Quality-funded instructional and support positions, effective for the 2025-2026 school year and to fund an additional seven percent increase, effective for the 2026-2027 school year to bring educators to the national pay average.
SB105, sponsored by Sen. Louis Lucas expands eligibility for incentive grant awards solely to teachers who have obtained national certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to (i) all public school staff who are candidates for initial national certification or maintenance of national certification to cover certain costs of obtaining or maintaining such certification and (ii) all public school staff who have successfully obtained or maintained such certification. The bill also declares as eligible for an annual incentive grant award in the amount of $7,500 for all public school staff who have obtained or maintained such certification. Current law declares as eligible for an annual incentive grant award of $5,000 in the first year and $2,500 in each subsequent year for all teachers who have obtained or maintained such certification. Watch the presentation and testimony on SB104 and SB105 below.
The Senate Ed & Health Subcommittee on Public Education also met on Thursday for their first meeting during the 2024 General Assembly Session and took action to pass bills addressing staffing ratios for school counselors and specialized support positions, SOQ funding, cardiac emergency response plans in schools, and school meals. Watch introductions of committee members below.
S.B. 127 sponsored by subcommittee chair, Schuyler VanValkenburg, unanimously passed the committee on Thursday. The bill decreases from one to 325 to one to 250 the ratio of full-time equivalent school counselors required to be employed by each local school board per student enrolled in the local school division. The bill also increases the number of specialized student support positions required to be employed by each local school board from at least three to at least four such positions per 1,000 students in the local school division. Such specialized student support positions include school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions.
S.B. 128 sponsored by subcommittee chair, Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg, unanimously passed the committee. The bill addresses recommendations one and seven of the JLARC Virginia’s Funding Formula report released July 2023. Recommendation 1 amends the Code of Virginia and includes language in the Appropriation Act directing the following technical adjustments to the Standards of Quality (SOQ) formula and compensation supplement calculations to (i) include all division central office positions in the SOQ formula, (ii) apply the cost of competing adjustment to facility and transportation staff salaries in the SOQ formula, (iii) remove the cap on adjustments to non-personal cost assumptions in the benchmarking process in the SOQ formula, and (iv) account for cost of facilities staff salaries in compensation supplement calculations. Recommendation 7 amends the Code of Virginia and includes language in the Appropriation Act to change the local composite index to be calculated using a three-year average of the most recently available data, rather than a single year of data every other year. Watch the presentation and testimony on SB 127 and SB 128 below.
S.B. 181 sponsored by Sen. Aaron Rouse unanimously passed the subcommittee. The bill requires each public elementary or secondary school to develop a cardiac emergency response plan (CERP) that addresses the appropriate use of school personnel to respond to incidents involving an individual who is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest or a similar life-threatening emergency while on school grounds and if such school has an athletic department or organized athletic program while attending or participating in an athletic practice or event while on school grounds. The bill also requires the Department to establish and administer a grant program to assist schools in the development or implementation of its CERP or in the purchase or funding of activities or equipment that further promotes CERP preparedness, giving priority to certain high-need schools. Watch the presentation and testimony on SB 181 below.
The subcommittee also favorably passed two bills, S.B. 283 and S.B. 314, sponsored by Sen. Danica Roem to deal with school meals. S.B. 283 provides that each school board shall require each public elementary and secondary school in the local school division to participate in the federal National School Lunch Program and the federal School Breakfast Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as provided in relevant law, if applicable, and to make lunch and breakfast available to any student who requests such a meal at no cost to the student, unless the student’s parent has provided written permission to the school board to withhold such a meal from the student. S.B. 314 requires the Department of Education to establish and appoint such members as it deems necessary or appropriate to the Farm to School Program Task Force to increase student access throughout the Commonwealth to high-quality farm-to-school programs.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING SCHEDULE FOR MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 2024
|House Education; House Committee Room A-008, General Assembly Building (committee info)
|Senate Courts of Justice; Senate Room A, General Assembly Building (committee info)
|Omega Psi Phi Fraternity – 3rd District Legislative Lobby Day; House Subcommittee Room 9, General Assembly Building
|Senate Education and Health Subcommittee on Higher Education; Senate Room C, General Assembly Building (sub-committee info)
|House Communications, Technology and Innovation; House Committee Room C-206, General Assembly Building (committee info)
|Senate Local Government; Senate Room B, General Assembly Building (committee info)
|House Democratic Caucus; House Room 1, The Capitol
|House Republican Caucus; House Room 2, The Capitol
|Senate Democratic Caucus; Senate Room 1, The Capitol
|Senate Republican Caucus; Senate Room 2, The Capitol
|House Convenes; House Chamber, The Capitol
|Senate Convenes; Senate Chamber, The Capitol
|15 min aft
|Senate Commerce and Labor; Senate Room A, General Assembly Building – 15 minutes after adjournment (committee info)
|15 min aft
|House Finance; House Committee Room B-205, General Assembly Building – 15 Minutes after adjournment of House (committee info)
|1 hr aft
|House Courts of Justice; House Committee Room C-206, General Assembly Building – 1 hour after adjournment of the House (committee info)
|Senate Finance and Appropriations Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee; Senate Finance & Appropriations Room, 13th Floor, General Assembly Building
|Northern Virginia Delegation Caucus; House Room 1, The Capitol
As we gear up for the Fund Our Schools (FOS) Lobby Day on February 19, FOS (a coalition that includes VEA) is offering online training for those interested in learning more about political advocacy. Two sessions are available, one dealing with General Assembly basics and one with lobbying, at the times below. They will also be recorded and made available for later viewing.
Exciting news! The 2024 Virginia General Assembly session kicks off today, and VPAP’s mobile app is your guide to follow along and navigate through it all seamlessly.
In the VPAP General Assembly app, you will find information for visiting the new General Assembly building. You can also get to know your legislators with: