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Commonwealth's Counties

Virginia Department of Education Miscalculates Basic Aid Distribution by $200 Million

On January 27, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow emailed school superintendents across the Commonwealth that due to human error at the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the Basic Aid Calculation Tool released in mid-December did not include recognition of the grocery tax hold harmless payment, which began in FY 2023 as part of the offset in the Basic Aid formula. This means that VDOE overestimated Basic Aid payments to local school divisions during the FY 2023 – FY 2024 biennium by approximately $200 million, including $58 million during the current K-12 school year. Most funding for the Standards of Quality is distributed as Basic Aid, which accounts for the costs of general instruction, support services, transportation, and some fringe costs, including health care.

This information has not yet been posted publicly on the usual VDOE website for Superintendent’s Memos, however an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch published last night goes into greater detail about the impact of this miscalculation to local school divisions. Superintendent Balow has promised to provide corrected estimates of Basic Aid once the House and Senate adopt their amended versions of Governor Youngkin’s introduced budget on February 9. If these amended versions of the budget do not provide an offset to cover this unexpected shortfall in Basic Aid, local school divisions will likely have to make substantial revisions to their budgets, both for the current fiscal year, and for the following fiscal year, which will then be presented to their local governing bodies for review.

VACo will continue to the monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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