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VPM Daily Newscast February 26, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Hosted by Benjamin Dolle, episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.

Listeners can subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, and Spotify.

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Friday, February 26, 2021:

  • An extended version of an inspector general’s report detailing unlawful conduct by members of Virginia’s Parole Board has stirred up controversy in state politics. The new allegations have led lawmakers on both sides to call for an investigation.


  • A bill requiring schools to offer an in-person learning option is headed to the governor’s desk to be signed following the Senate’s final vote on the measure yesterday. Republicans tried multiple times to attach an emergency clause tothe bill, requiring schools to start implementation immediately after being signed into law, but that failed to pass. As it stands, the bill mandates schools start offering an in-person option before the fall semester begins. It also lays out some guidelines for reopening, including following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks and offering all educators and staff access to the vaccine. While there have been objections from both parties about the plan, it passed both the House and Senate with wide bipartisan support. Gov. Ralph Northam requested schools provide an in-person option by mid-March, but some school districts like Richmond said they would not meet that goal.


  • Teachers and state employees could get a 5% pay raise under a revised state budget,according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The larger raises are possible because Virginia took in $730 million more than expected in state revenue. State-supported local employees, like sheriff's deputies, would also get raises under the proposal. A final vote on the budget is expected by Monday.


  • The rest of Virginia will join the city of Richmond and some Northern Virginia localities in renaming Jefferson Davis Highway. On Thursday, lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that will rename Route 1 to “Emancipation Highway” across the commonwealth.The move comes as communities across the South continue to grapple with the legacy of the Confederacy.


  • Archaeologists discovered human remains at the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, one of the oldest Black churches in the Country. Our partner station WHRV reports researchers are working to identify the remains.


  • The Henrico County School Board approved a budget on Thursday for the upcoming fiscal year. The proposal is about $23 million more than the current operating budget. That accounts for last year’s COVID-related budget reductions, in areas like infrastructure and professional education services. The spending plan doesn’t include employee pay raises, which will be considered later in the budget process. The school board is expected to hold a final vote in May, after the county Board of Supervisors reviews the proposal, and the approved budget will go into effect July 1st. 


  • State funding for schools will look a bit different this year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers typically rely on enrollment numbers to decide how much money each district gets. But some experts are raising red flags this time, saying the funding formula may leave the poorest districts behind
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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