On January 27, HB 1446 (Aird) was struck at the request of the patron in the House Education Committee. The bill, as originally written, would have required all school boards to assess each school building in the school division and for compliance with standards to be determined by the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE). In the case of non-compliance with said standards, the report from the school board would include an assessment of the locality’s ability to use local funds to provide a remedy. Most problematically, the bill would have authorized VBOE to sue the locality to compel the local governing body to provide funds to the school board.
Though there is a need for school facilities improvements across the Commonwealth, unlike other K-12 responsibilities such as the Standards of Quality, local governments provide nearly 100 percent of the funding for school capital costs without state support. As previously reported many localities face significant challenges raising sufficient funds to undertake school construction or renovation projects. Despite this, Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion earlier this year stating that the responsibility for these projects lies primarily with localities.
VACo met with Delegate Lashrecse Aird and other stakeholders to share concerns prior to the bill’s hearing in Committee. We appreciate the willingness of the patron to honestly engage on this issue and advocate for better educational outcomes for K-12 students across the Commonwealth.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett