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Governor, Show Your Commitment to Education by Funding our Schools

General Assembly Statehouse where bills and funding originiate

Logo: At the Statehouse, Updates on the General Assembly Session

End of Session Update: Budget Amendments

The 2024 General Assembly session ended on March 9th with 12 of the 4 Public Education priority bills adopted by both the House and Senate, containing substantial substitutions in some cases. All of these bills have been sent to Governor Youngkin for his consideration–his deadline is between April 8th or 12th to sign, veto, or amend those bills. Updates on the changing status of these bills will be posted at this link

The Budget Conference report, Budget Bill HB 30, was adopted on March 9th by the Senate (24 to 14, with 2 not voting) and House (62 to 36, with 1 not voting) and received bipartisan support in both chambers. A comparison of the State, House, Conference, and Governor’s proposed budgets can be viewed at this link provided by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, with proposed K-12 education funding starting on page 4. 

Thankfully the Budget Conferees recognized the critical needs for funding, as seen in their budget (HB30) that is an amendment to the Governor’s proposed budget. One item of agreement in all versions of the budget is for the needed $15 million funding for mental health resources in schools, but that is where the agreement ends. Notable and necessary amendments that were made to the Governor’s inadequate budget in the Conference Budget include:

  • An additional $1.15 billion more in the General Fund support for Direct Aid for K-12 public education and the Department of Education Central Account. 

  • Additional funding to provide the state’s share of a 3% raise each year for state-recognized school staff.

  • An additional $371 million of at-risk add-on funding to reduce barriers for students from low-income families and students in high-poverty communities.

  • An additional $72 million for additional English Language Learner teachers.

  • More than $4 million for each of the next two years for teacher training on inclusive practices for students with disabilities and to establish parent support centers in each region.

  • $10 million for literacy screening and support.

  • $5 million for community schools and for creating an office of community schools within the Department of Education.

  • Diverting $250 million from the Literary Fund for school construction.

  • $4.4 million for Special Education. 

Now it is the Governor's Turn

Legislators will return to Richmond on April 17th when they will consider any amendments and vetoes that Governor Youngkin makes to the more than 1,000 bills sent to him to consider. The Governor was not pleased with the Conference Budget and reacted angrily to the amendments to his budget bill and called it “backward” because some items important to him were removed from the budget, in part to provide as much funding as possible for k-12 education. Items removed that were priorities to the governor included: tax cuts for wealthy Virginians and development of a sports arena that was budgeted at $2 billion. These items were removed from the governor’s proposed budget because they would have reduced the available revenue for other purposes and would have continued the underfunding of K-12 public education in Virginia

Upon receiving the Conference budget Governor Youngkin warned that “changes will be needed” so expectations are that he will use his veto pen liberally with bills that are Democratic priorities. Alternatively, he may use those priorities as bargaining chips to resurrect his tax cut and sports arena priorities. At the time of this writing, March 13th, the Governor has not yet weighed in on the K-12 education bills.


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