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At the Statehouse: Priority Education Bills, Week 1

We are fortunate in Virginia to now have a surplus in our budget. We are pleased to have legislators who advocate to apply that surplus toward public education to solve critical problems such as overcrowding, deferred maintenance, and inadequate staffing. These needs have gone unfilled in past years because the budget could not stretch far enough to meet those needs. However, other officials in our executive and legislative branches intend to use that surplus to cut taxes, despite these critical needs.

Hopefully, everyone with a vote realizes that now is the time we can do what is needed for our public schools that are deprived of what they need when budgets are tight. Thus, we are following priority bills closely for this 2023 Virginia General Assembly. Calls to action for support or opposition to these bills will be posted in the Take Action part of our website as advocacy is needed, or with other pro-public education partners.

4 Public Education supports the following proposed bills:

mental health support to students with bills HB1938, SB818, SB856, SB1043, SB1257, SB1268, SJ228, and;

4 Public Education opposes the following proposed bills:

Censorship of school library material by bills HB1379, HB1448, SB787;

Legislators continue to recognize the need to increase compensation for our teachers and support staff; therefore, Delegate Convers-Fowler, Delegate Rasoul, and Senator Lucas have introduced bills that should help compensate and retain our valuable teachers.

This year we have bills that intend to increase learning and mentorship opportunities for principals, teachers and sta

ff, and also reduce the ratios of principals, teachers and staff to the number of students in each school. Those bills were introduced by Delegate Bourne and Senator McClellan.

The pandemic impacted K-12 students and teachers in many ways. Thankfully, our legislators stepped up and introduced bills this year to mitigate those impacts. One of the most publicized impacts was what some call “Learning Loss” due to online school during the pandemic, where much of the greatest impact has been on rural, low income, and immigrant communities. We ask legislators to support those bills including ones that: 1) increase in English Language Learner resources (introduced by Senator Hashmi), 2) improve communication with parents of English Language Learners (introduced by Delegate Guzman), and 3) provide early intervention services for reading and math (introduced by Senator Favola).

The pandemic has highlighted the increased need for mental health services for K-12 students so our legislators have introduced bills to increase the availability of mental health support in our schools, including bills by Senator Spruill, Senator Favola, and Delegate Plum.

Photo Credit: Skip Plitt - C'ville Photography, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


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