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Budget A First Step To Adequate Funding

On January 28th, thousands of VEA members came to Richmond to demand that our elected leaders ‘Fund Our Future.’

The budget agreed to today shows that We Were Heard. Without the pressure applied by VEA members, there is no chance the Republican-led Senate and House would have agreed to the substantial increases in funding for salary, construction, and at-risk students that VEA fought for and won. Remember that this budget amendment session was for funding over and above the previously passed 2018-2020 budget. The budget amounts in this budget package is all gains.

Coming into this budget amendment session, the 2018-20 budget included the state share of a 3-percent raise for teachers and SOQ positions. The budget amendment package passed today boosts that by an additional 2 percent. Make no doubt—that came about because of the direct pressure that you applied to legislators.

VEA also has been advocating for substantial increases in the "At-Risk Add-On," which provides additional state support to localities serving high proportions of poor and minority students. VEA Vice President James Fedderman participated in a news conference last week highlighting the great needs of these school divisions. The budget negotiators responded with $25 million in additional aid.

Public school funding is both a state and a local responsibility. At the state level, our responsibility is to win this year and win again next year and the year after that. The 5-percent salary support is the largest in years—but it is only a down payment on the progress we need to see to close the $9200 salary gap we face in Virginia. We must meet or exceed this state commitment each year until Virginia educators are earning the pay they deserve. Each of us must work our hardest to elect pro-public education candidates to the General Assembly this fall if we are to make the sustained progress we need.

For more on the budget, read Kathy Burcher's analysis on the VEA Daily Reports. VEA will be publishing a fuller analysis of the budget, with locality-by-locality implications, in the days ahead.

Your local budget battles are ongoing, and it’s critical that you capture the maximum salary increase to take advantage of the state funding. Here are two resources:

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