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General Assembly - March 4, 2020

From the State Capitol in Richmond, I’m Craig Carper. 

A group of education advocates and Democratic lawmakers say the General Assembly made some modest progress this year investing in Virginia’s public schools but that the state still lags significantly behind the national average. And many rural and urban localities lag behind the state average. They’re asking budget negotiators to do better. 

Senator Jennifer McClellan D-Richmond

“We all know it’s not enough. We will continue to fight. We will continue this conversation to ensure that every child whether they live in Fairfax, whether they live in Grundy, whether they live in Creighton Court or on Monument Avenue, they will have the same high quality education because it is the foundation for everything else in Virginia.”

The state board of education says Virginia has fallen short by 1 billion dollars in funding their standards of quality. 

Budget negotiators say there are currently not enough votes to support a tax increase to bridge this gap. 

Currently Virginia teachers earn about $8,500 less than the national average. 

House and Senate budget conferees are still negotiating a final spending plan but both chambers have recommended cost of living increases for teachers as well as providing some additional dollars for counselors and English as a Second Language instructors. They’re examining some new funding for school construction but have not yet settled on a final number. 

For Assembly 20, I’m Craig Carper. 

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