RICHMOND (WSLS 10) - Governor McAuliffe announced Wednesday an ambitious budget package for Virginia's public schools, which combined with higher education announcements yesterday includes over a $1 billion investment in K-12 and higher education.
The Governor's robust two-year budget proposal aims to prepare all students to succeed in the new Virginia Economy by providing them with much-needed resources and innovative supports.
Speaking today at Mark Twain Middle School, Governor McAuliffe said, "I have heard from parents, students and teachers all over the Commonwealth that we have been asking our schools to do more and more with less and less. But with thoughtful, bold ideas like the ones I am proposing, we will get back on the right track and ensure that we are laying the foundations for the New Virginia Economy. This historic proposal represents the largest new investment in public education in over a decade, and the largest total investment in the history of the Commonwealth. I believe that if we want to have a world-class economy, we need a world-class education system, and this is where it starts."
Some of the public education priorities funded in the Governor's biennial budget include:
- New Teachers: Providing roughly 2,500 additional instructional positions - $139.1M
- Rebenchmarking: Fully funds the cost of rebenchmarking the Standards of Quality and additional updates - $429.8M
At Risk Add-On: Provides flexible funding to divisions based on free lunch population to be used for drop-out prevention, parent engagement, English Language Learners, etc. - $50M
Cost to Compete: Supports a cost of competing adjustment for school support positions in areas with a high cost of living - $41M
- High School Innovation: implementation grants and additional innovation grants in support of SOL Innovation Committee to enhance creativity and innovation in high school - $500,000
- Computer Science Training for Teachers: Support for teacher training for computer science to address shortages - $1.1M
- Credentialing and Equipment for Career and Tech Education: Covers the cost of credential tests and doubles the equipment investment - $5M
- Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT): One time cost to shorten additional SOL tests by converting to the CAT format - $5M
- VA Tiered Systems of Support (VTSS)/ Positive Behavior Interventions (PBIS): Direct investment in Classrooms not Courtrooms initiative by expanding this evidenced-based program to divisions with high rates of disciplinary offenses: $1M
- Breakfast after the Bell: In addition to base funding, will provide resources needed to meet demand – $1.1M
- Early Childhood Grants: Grants to pilot effective public-private delivery models for high-quality early education and to upskill early education providers - $6.9M
- Salary Increase: Provides a 2% salary increase for teachers, non-teacher instructional positions, and support positions consistent with state employee raises - $83.2M
- Teacher Retirement: Increase general fund contribution to teacher retirement - $30M
The Governor will announce his full, two-year budget before the Money Committees on Thursday, December 17.