Tuesday, January 18, 2011

65%, Merit Pay and Vouchers

I am going to delay the posting of the promised retirement legislation analysis as more urgent legislative issues have arisen.

In a close vote (11-9) the House Education Committee voted Monday morning to report Delegate Manoli Loupassi’s HB 1416, the 65% solution bill. The bill will provide pressure on local school divisions to spend 65% of funding on instruction.

The ongoing concern regarding the bill is that it may negatively impact the programs not included in the USDOE definition of instruction such as guidance counselors librarians, pupil transportation, principals and assistant pricipals, nurses, food services, facilities maintenance (heating and cooling), testing to comply with SOLs and NCLB, curriculum development, PTs and OTs and other services necessary for SPED.

YEAS--Landes, Cole, Athey, Pogge, Massie, Loupassi, Greason, Bell, Richard P., Stolle, LeMunyon, Robinson--11.

NAYS--Tata, Rust, Shuler, Alexander, Ebbin, McClellan, Tyler, Bulova, Morrissey--9.

ABSTENTIONS--0.

NOT VOTING--Lingamfelter, Ware, O.--2.

The bottom line is that if this bill passes, the jobs of many who are necessary to support classroom instruction will be lost. The most threatened positions are custodians, bus drivers, librarians, guidance counselors, schools social workers, physical and occupational therapists, food service workers and maintenance personnel.

Please call your delegate today urging him/her to vote against HB 1416.

The Governor held a press conference this morning to proclaim his support of pay-for-performance and Delegate Massie’s tuition tax credit bill, HB 2314.

The merit pay initiative will provide $3 million dollars to pilot pay-for-performance in eight hard-to-staff divisions. The bonus payments will be $5000 per teacher.

The voucher bill will drain $25 million from the General fund to provide $4,500 private school scholarships to students who qualify for free-or-reduced lunch. It should be noted that private school tuitions in Virginia can be as much as $20,000.

So, our Governor, who cut $50 million in public education funding with his introduced budget amendments, is now proposing that the state spend $25 million to provide private school vouchers.

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