We continue to do our legislative work in Richmond, even with all the headlines about the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. Thanks to all who have expressed their views to me about what should happen. The House Democratic Caucus issued statements on these matters, which I support. You can see the statement released February 7th here and another statement regarding the Lieutenant Governor released on February 9th here.
Late last week, the House and Senate both approved budgets. Since there are differences between the two, they will need to be reconciled; several members of each body are appointed to the conference committee to resolve differences between the measures. Neither the House or Senate budget are as generous in funding education as was the Governor’s proposal, though both include the Governor’s proposal for a 5 percent raise for teachers. The Commonwealth is still struggling to bring inflation-adjusted school spending back to the levels that existed prior to the 2007-08 recession. The Senate budget provides $40 million to local school divisions, but the local divisions must also dedicate local money to make the teacher raises occur. The House budget is more generous than the Senate in funding more school counselors, a key recommendation of the House Select Committee on School Safety on which I sat. The House budget cuts $35.6 million from the Governor’s plan to provide additional money to school divisions with higher at-risk populations. [Read more…]