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Gov. Northam Proposes $1.2 Billion in K-12 Education Spending

Governor Northam addresses students
Governor Ralph Northam addresses students and educators at Huguenot High School on Monday. (Patrick Larsen / VPM News)

Reported by VPM Intern Patrick Larsen. 

Governor Ralph Northam plans to include $1.2 billion in new K-12 spending in his upcoming budget. The proposal covers a variety of educational needs, including funding for more school counselors and English language learning programs, among others.

The announcement was made on Monday morning at Huguenot High School Monday, where Lyons Sanchezconcha teaches. He says it’s sometimes difficult for students to learn when other things are going on in their lives, and that the Governor’s proposal would help educators identify and address student needs.

“And if we look at that need, everything else will take care of itself,” Sanchezconcha said.

Northam is also proposing a 3% statewide teacher raise, which would take effect in July 2021. James Fedderman, an educator from the Eastern Shore, says teacher retention is a big issue where he’s from, so a raise could help.

“So, we’re hopeful that that’s something our teachers will be mindful of as they’re making their decisions to stay,” Fedderman said.

This proposal comes after the General Assembly bumped up teacher salaries by 5% last year.

House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert said in a statement that Republicans are committed to supporting Virginia teachers and students, highlighting their support of last year’s teacher pay raise.

“We look forward to working with the Governor to make substantial investments in good schools,” Gilbert said.

The announcement wraps up about a week of budget previews by the Governor, which included funding allocations for environmental, maternal health and housing programs. Northam is making his full budget proposal to the Joint Finance Committees on Tuesday.

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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