Legislative Bulletin February 1, 2023Wednesday, February 01, 2023 - 06:14pm
Issue Alert: 2023 K-12 Funding
Former President Ronald Reagan famously admonished Americans to “trust but verify” when it came to nuclear disarmament among the former Soviet Union. In the context of data provided by Virginia’s Department of Education (DOE) to local school divisions, it sounds like that trust may be ebbing.
To be fair, we all make mistakes. But this is a big one with real world implications for local school children. And it creates doubt about information coming our way in the future.
For years localities have consistently relied upon data from DOE to build their annual budgets. Now it sounds like we’re supposed to be poring over DOE’s complicated, multi-tab spreadsheet when we set our budgets to make sure all the formulas, fund splits, and assumptions are correct. If you’ve had the privilege of working in that document, you know that this is easier said than done.
More to the point, we’ve heard plenty of mea culpas from the Administration in the last few days about the mistake that was made but not a word about possible solutions! And waiting for the money committees to make things right when they roll out their budgets isn’t solving the problem.
Here’s a thought:
The Commonwealth should consider appropriating, at a minimum, an additional $58 million from the General Fund each year to fully fund the plans local school divisions pulled together last spring.
That’s what we should be communicating to members of the General Assembly. There’s no question the money is available.
We all remember the adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” We’ll see if the will (and the money) is there in the days ahead.
VML Contacts: Joe Flores, email@example.com; Josette Bulova, firstname.lastname@example.org