2020 SPECIAL BUDGET SESSION
On August 18th, the General Assembly will convene at noon to start a special session that will re-evaluate the state budget, address the impact of the pandemic and discuss policing reform.
We need YOUR help to start a virtual rally to restore K-12 funding and #FundReturn2School. We're asking you to get active on your PTA and personal social media accounts.Whether schools open in person or virtually they will need funding to implement new safety and equity measures.
- pdf Bill Watchlist for Special Session (131 KB) (Sept 15th)
- Public Comment on School Nurses (Sentate Finance)
- pdf Public Comment on Budget Amendments (116 KB) (House Appropriations)
HERE'S WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR:
✅ Restoring the $500M of K-12 funding that was unallotted in April;
✅ Funding $600M for Flexible K-12 Pandemic Response;
✅ Restoring and Expanding funding for High-Speed Broadband;
✅ Restoring $50M for School Counselors;
✅ Providing a Registered School Nurse for every school;
✅ Improving accessibility of licensed, affordable childcare;
✅ Inclusion of teacher diversity data and language spoken on the School Quality Profiles to turn #Reports2Results
Prior to the pandemic, historic investments were made in K-12 education that would have reversed Virginia's position as 42nd in the United States for per pupil state spending.
In March, the General Assembly adopted a $135 billion budget which assumed annual revenue growth of 3% and included $8-9 billion annually for education.
In April, in anticipation of a revenue shortfall from COVID, the General Assembly unalloted or froze ~$3 billion in spending over the biennium. This included tabling $50 million for School Counselors, unalloting $14 million for Broadband and unalloting $500 million for K-12 education:
- 2% raises for teachers ($288M);
- historic expansion of pre-school for at risk 3-4 year olds ($83M);
- additional funding for high-poverty schools ($61M);
- lowering the costs of reduced-price lunches ($11M)
- Cost of Competing Adjustment ($20M)
In July, it was announced that state revenue grew by 2%. This means the projected $1 billion of loss in year one turned out to be a shortfall of $236.5 million, or a 1.1% difference between the budget adopted in March and actual revenue growth. Recent estimates show that federal aid will fall short of providing schools the funding needed to fully meet safety guidelines for physical reopening.
Virginia's schools rank 42nd in the country for per pupil state spending and 33rd in the country for early childhood. Schools need flexible funding to ensure safety measures are in place to protect students and staff. This includes widespread rapid COVID testing, installation of plexi-glass shields, supplies to clean and sanitize multiple times a day, ability to provide staff and students with PPE and adjustments to transportation and school meal service.
With many students learning at home, it is imperative that the digital gap be addressed by funding devices and Wi-Fi access, while simultaneously accelerating broadband expansion for every Virginian.
The Commonwealth Institute estimates that to meet safety guidance schools will need ~$460 per student, which is a state investment of $600M in flexible pandemic response funds.
THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HELP!!
GET ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
Share or post on your PTA social media pages to raise awareness in your community AND join our #TakeAction4Kids Challenge.
- Take a picture holding a sign with YOUR top priority or record a 20 second video sharing your "why"
- Tag 2 Friends and ask that they join the challenge
- Set your post to 'public' and tag your legislators
- Use these hashtags: #FundReturn2School #FundNotFreeze #VAPTAAdvocacy #TakeAction4Kids
- You can also use and share materials from our coalition partner @FundOurSchoolsVA #FundOurSchools
CALL OR EMAIL YOUR DELEGATE!
Legislators respond best to personal stories and asks from their constituents. Letters don't have to be long, just a short statement about what's important to you and why you want your legislator to take a stand for education.In addition to emailing your own delegate. This session we encourage you to write letters to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees.If you want to use a template letter, you can use this form letter from our coalition partner, Fund Our Schools.
WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper reminding your community why it's important to fund education.
- Virginia PTA Phased Return to School Position Statement
- Virginia PTA Legislative Priorities - Inside the Issues
- National PTA Reopening Schools for 2020-21 Position Statement
- National PTA Distance Learning Position Statement