Governor McAuliffe funds top VACo Legislative Priority

December 17, 2015

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Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on December 17 that his proposed biennial budget provides more than $1 billion in new investments for Virginia’s public schools, colleges and universities.

The announcement mirrors VACo’s overarching priority in its 2016 Legislative Program that urges the Governor and the General Assembly to increase K-12 public education funding levels.

“The state is ready to shoulder its fair share of the cost for public education,” Governor McAuliffe said at a morning press conference.

When adjusted for inflation, state per pupil spending on public education is less than funding levels in FY 2005. For public schools, the Governor’s proposed budget plans to spend $5,446 per student, which represents nearly a 50 percent increase over the amount budgeted per pupil for FY 2016 ($3,647).

“Governor McAuliffe announced in August that his top budget priority would be modernizing the Commonwealth’s public education system,” VACo President Judy Lyttle said. “VACo thanks Governor McAuliffe for keeping his promise and understanding Virginia’s counties’ concerns in meeting this important core service.”

Specifically, the Governor’s proposed budget supports key provisions in the VACo Legislative Program by funding:

$429.8 million for rebenchmarking the Standards of Quality (SOQ)

$139 million over two years to add nearly 2500 instructional positions throughout the Commonwealth

$5 million to “more than double investments in equipment for high-demand, high wage credentials at high school career and technical schools

$6.9 million in new funding for the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation to provide grants for high-risk children in Virginia’s most stressed communities

$83.2 million for a 2 percent salary increase for teachers, non-teacher instructional positions, and support positions consistent with state employee raises

$30 million to fully fund teacher pensions by FY 2017

Deputy Executive Director Dean Lynch stated that the Governor heard counties’ request for increased public education funding. “Our counties have vigorously advocated on this issue and that made the difference in urging Governor McAuliffe to support K-12 funding as a priority in his biennial budget.”

VACo continues to review the finer provisions of Governor McAuliffe’s proposed biennial budget and will provide a detailed analysis in the near future. Keep reading Capitol Contact for the latest developments in the budget process.

VACo Contact: Dean Lynch, CAE

 

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