VEA Reacts to Governor Youngkin’s Proposed Budget Amendments
December 16, 2022
December 16, 2022
The following statement is in response to budget amendments presented this morning by Gov. Youngkin and can be attributed to Dr. James J. Fedderman, President of the Virginia Education Association:
For someone who campaigned on educational excellence, Gov. Youngkin’s budget fails to prioritize public education, spending extraordinarily little of our record-setting surplus on K-12 public schools. The Governor had an excellent opportunity to invest in addressing staffing shortages, students and parents still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, and school staff who are doing their level best under considerable adversity. Instead, he squandered it in favor of tax giveaways for profitable corporations and income tax changes that will mostly help high-income individuals.
The few K-12 investments made by the governor are one-time gimmicks that won’t help us make kind of the progress our students and schools need. That includes the proposed 1% bonus for certain teachers and staff this August, even though teachers have told us loud and clear that bonuses don’t incentivize them to stay in the field.
This proposed budget also wastes $50 million on laboratory schools, which have a limited track record nationally. They’re really just an experiment to fulfill a campaign promise to create new schools for which there has not been demand. State education experts have researched high-return-on-investment K-12 strategies for years and recommended investing in critical school staff like vice principals, nurses, behavioral health specialists, teacher mentorships, and in high-poverty schools (all evidence-based investments with strong track records). Lab schools have no such track record.
Decades of research has come to the conclusive finding that money matters for educational outcomes. Yet, Virginia remains in the country’s bottom tier for state per student spending, hovering between low-resource states like Mississippi and Louisiana. This budget is a major missed opportunity by the Governor to make meaningful progress on addressing our education challenges, and lawmakers must come back and fix it.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, teachers in Virginia earn 32.7% less in weekly wages than other (non-teacher) college-educated workers. Virginia’s teacher wage penalty is the worst in the nation.Take Action Now