GA Budget Conference Report Heads to Governor’s Desk
February 27, 2021
February 27, 2021
The Budget Conference Report is on its way to the Governor’s desk. There were important new investments, but the “conference budget” fell short of providing the necessary level of funding for K-12 schools as recommended by the Virginia Board of Education.
Here are the highlights of the Budget Conference Report as it relates to K-12 schools.
The budget includes:
$234.5 million to provide the state portion of a 5.0 percent salary increase, effective July 1, 2021, for SOQ instructional and support positions. Funded SOQ instructional positions shall include the teacher, school counselor, librarian, instructional aide, principal, and assistant principal positions funded through the SOQ staffing standards for each school division in the biennium. Support services positions shall include the following: Executive policy and leadership positions, including school board members, superintendents, and assistant superintendents; Fiscal and human resources positions, including fiscal and audit operations; social work administrative positions; school counselor administrative; homebound administrative positions supporting instruction; attendance support positions related to truancy and dropout prevention; health and behavioral administrative positions; instructional personnel support, including professional development positions and library and media positions; technology professional positions; operation and maintenance positions, including facilities; pupil transportation positions; operation and maintenance professional and service positions; and security service, trade, and laborer positions; technical and clerical positions for fiscal and human resources, student support, instructional personnel support, operation and maintenance, administration, and technology; and school-based clerical personnel.
To access these funds, each school division must provide at least an average 2.0 percent pay increase during the 2020-22 biennium, and funding provided is prorated for school divisions providing between 2.0 percent and 5.0 percent pay increases over the biennium.
$26.6 million GF in FY 2022 to provide one counselor per 325 students as provided in 2020 legislation.
$49.5 million GF in FY 2022 to fund three specialized student support positions per 1,000 students as required by SB 1257. This funding priority aligns with VEA priority legislation, Senate Bill 1257, introduced by Senator Jennifer McClellan to include school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions.
$62.1 million NGF from federal CCDF funds to implement HB 2206, temporarily expanding family eligibility for child care subsidy program.
$8.8 million NGF in FY 2022 from federal ESSER II funds to begin implementing a growth assessment system in fall 2021 as directed by HB 2027. Replaces grade 3-8 End-of-Year Standards of Learning assessments.
$26 million to fund one full-time equivalent school counselor position per 325 students in grades kindergarten through twelve.
$6.5 million NGF in FY 2022 from ESSER II funds to permit certain special education students to attend high school for an additional year to aid with post-secondary transition impacted by school closures
$40.0 million from the Lottery Proceeds Fund the first year to support one-time programs and initiatives to address learning loss experienced by students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No local match is required, and unexpended funds from the first year shall remain available in the second year. School divisions are required to spend these payments on eligible programs, including (I) extending the school year, (ii) summer school, (iii) tutoring, remediation, and recovery, and supplemental after school programs, (vi) counseling, and other student supports, (v) assessments to determine student progress and the need for access to these programs, (vi) other similar programs, and (vii) modifications to facilities to assist with COVID-19 mitigation strategies for in-person learning.”
$30.0 million from federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds authorized in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to provide grants to address COVID-19 related learning loss and other student support needs.
$443.0 million in No Loss Payments. Protects school divisions from a 3.5% decline in ADM forecast by ensuring no division loses state aid from amounts provided in Chapter 56, Special Session budget, funded in part with $76.0 million in gray machine revenues. Cost to provide No Loss is $70.6 million less than in introduced budget because the Conference report provides an additional: $45.7 million from the net impact of sales tax forecast; $30.0 million in additional Infrastructure & Operations Lottery Per Pupil payments; $2.7 million for Governor’s School & VPI participation rate adjustments.
$38.5 million for G3 program for community college tuition assistance for low- & moderate-income students who meet certain criteria.
$14.6 million to increase the Cost of Competing Adjustment (COCA) for support positions in the school divisions in Planning District 8 and certain adjacent divisions specified in the Appropriation Act that are eligible to receive COCA funds. For the nine Planning District 8 school divisions, this action would increase the adjustment factor from 10.6 to 18.0 percent. For the nine adjacent school divisions, this action would increase the adjustment factor from 2.65 to 4.5 percent. This restores and expands funding that was eliminated in Chapter 56, 2020 Special Session I that would have increased the adjustment factors from 10.6 to 16.0 percent and 2.65 to 4.0 percent.
$2 million to provide one-time support to Accomack and Northampton school divisions for teacher recruitment and retention efforts, including adjustments to salary scales to minimize misalignment to salary scales of adjacent counties. Disbursement of these funds is contingent on the division providing the required local share of a 5.0 percent compensation supplement.
$7.0 million from federal Governor’s Education Emergency Relief funds authorized in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 116-260) to support the continued expansion of Virtual Virginia’s learning management system and additional free course enrollment slots during the 2021-22 school year.
$11.1 million GF in the second year to increase Va. Preschool Initiative per pupil amount from $6,326 in FY 2021 to $7,655 in FY 2022.
$5.0 million GF in the second year to restore Early Childhood Educator Recruitment/Retention Incentives.