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Equal Funding for ALL
Virginia Students

Virginia

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DESCRIPTION

According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, Virginia is one of only six states that allocates more funds to its wealthiest school districts than it does to its poorest school districts. This campaign aims to correct that disparity.

All schools in Virginia receive funding from the state government. In addition to the standard level of funding, Virginia’s current budget allows for the allocation of extra funds to “at-risk” schools with a higher population of low-income students. Under Virginia’s current budget, “at-risk” schools can be allocated 1-14% of additional funding, based upon their “at-risk” status. A 2015 50-state survey showed that most states allocate between 20-30% of additional funding for “at-risk” schools. This campaign seeks a budget amendment to raise Virginia’s maximum “At-risk Add-On” budget allocation from 14% to 25% to ensure that all schools have the resources they need to provide for their students – even in the poorest parts of the state. Students in rural and urban settings alike suffer from underfunded schools. Virginia recently scored an “F” in funding distribution, because it was determined that Virginia’s funds “disadvantage high poverty districts.”

Adequate school funding plays a crucial role in closing the opportunity gap between students in low- and high-income families. Studies show that increased funding can improve students’ test scores, educational attainment levels, and even earnings as adults. Virginia must prioritize all its students to ensure their success and ensure the creation of value-adding Virginia citizens in the future.

LEGISLATION

This campaign seeks a budget amendment to raise Virginia’s maximum “At-risk Add-On” budget allocation from 14% to 25% to put Virginia in line with other states nationwide and to ensure that all Virginia students have the resources they need to succeed.

HISTORY

In the 2018 General Assembly, Delegates Lashrecse Aird (Democrat) and Isreal O’Quinn (Republican) introduced a budget amendment that would have added $64.2 million to the state’s “At-Risk Add-On” program over the next two years. This amendment would have raised the possible budget allocation from 13% to 18%. These Delegates – who have very little in common politically – chose to advocate for this amendment because “your ZIP code should not be the determinant of the quality of education you get, ” according to Aird. Their legislation was backed by superintendents and school board members from urban and rural school divisions alike, with one superintendent saying, “this is a nonpartisan issue.” This amendment was ignored, however, and instead, the General Assembly included a very modest increase from 13% to 14% in 2020. Delegates Lashrecse Aird (Democrat) and Isreal O’Quinn (Republican) introduced a budget amendment that would have added $64.2 million to the state’s “At-Risk Add-On” program over the next two years. This amendment would have raised the possible budget allocation from 13% to 18%. These Delegates – who have very little in common politically – chose to advocate for this amendment because “your ZIP code should not be the determinant of the quality of education you get, ” according to Aird. Their legislation was backed by superintendents and school board members from urban and rural school divisions alike, with one superintendent saying, “this is a nonpartisan issue.” This amendment was ignored, however, and instead the General Assembly included a very modest increase from 13% to 14% in 2020.

VISION

We are building towards a better Commonwealth, where Virginians of all backgrounds receive an equal quality education. Despite Virginia’s top-ranked higher education institutions, its K-12 schools are regularly ranked at the bottom of the nation. This campaign is only the first step in modernizing public school buildings, updating curricula, paying teachers the national average, and generally prioritizing primary education.