On October 4, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) convened a stakeholder workgroup tasked with evaluating standards for the maintenance and operations, renovations, and new construction of public and elementary school buildings. As previously reported, this effort stems from legislation from the 2023 General Assembly session. SB 1124, which was a recommendation of the Commission on School Construction and Modernization, requires the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) to make recommendations to the General Assembly for amendments to the Standards of Quality (SOQ). These recommendations shall include standards for the percentage of the current replacement value of a public-school building that a school board should budget for the maintenance and operations of the building and such other standards as the Board deems appropriate. The recommendations must be submitted to the chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than July 1, 2024.
Topics of future meetings for the workgroup will include discussion of standards for building planning and design, standards for construction and renovation, and standards for post-construction operations and maintenance. VACo staff, which are a member of the workgroup, noted that any new mandatory standards should be accompanied by additional state funding support, as is the case with any of the current SOQs. Othwerise, such standards should be considered as best practices or recommendations. The workgroup is tasked with making preliminary recommendations to VBOE and will likely meet monthly between now and March 2024.
VACo supports additional state resources and additional statewide funding options for localities for capital and school construction costs, including expanding dedicated local sales and use tax authority first given to select counties by the General Assembly in 2019 as well as continuing to fund the School Construction Grant Program and School Construction Assistance Program.
If you or your county has thoughts or comments on the labor of the workgroup and the subjects under discussion, please do not hesitate to contact Jeremy R. Bennett at email@example.com.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett