SB 1275 (Black) requires any local school board that offers a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program to make it available to any student residing in the local school division receiving home instruction. The bill is problematic because it prohibits the local school board from requiring any such student to enroll part- or full-time in the local school division or to meet any other eligibility requirements.
SB 1275 advanced on a narrow 3-2 vote in the Senate Education and Health Committee’s Public Education Subcommittee and was reported from the Senate Education and Health Committee on a 9-5 vote, and then escaped the Senate on a vote of 22-18.
The bill was referred to the House Education Committee Subcommittee #3, where it was heard on February 11. VACo spoke in opposition, as did representatives from numerous school organizations, including the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) and the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS). At the subcommittee meeting, the bill initially failed to be recommended for reporting on a 2-5 vote. The Chairman of the Subcommittee exercised his privilege to bring the measure up again later in the meeting, having voted with the majority. This use of parliamentary procedure, the absence of a subcommittee member who had voted in opposition, and the switching of the Chairman’s vote in favor of the measure allowed the bill to be recommended for reporting on a narrow 4-3 vote.
- VACo has historically opposed measures that would divert public funding to students not enrolled to receive public instruction (such as the “Tim Tebow Bill”).
- This bill imposes an unfunded mandate on localities.
JROTC programs receive federal funds for partial reimbursement of program expenses. All other expenses incurred in the running of the program by a local school division are the responsibility of the locality.
House Education Committee: Landes (Chairman), Bell, Richard P. (Vice Chair), Cole, Pogge, Robinson, Yancey, Davis, Leftwich, LaRock, Helsel, Collins, McGuire, Tyler, Bulova, Keam, Bagby, Bourne, Hurst, VanValkenburg, Turpin, Rodman, Sullivan
VACo Contact: Jeremy Bennett