Friday, January 30, 2015

CPS Timeline and Teacher Turnover Study Advance, They Are Looking for Salary Money

Another VEA initiated bill, Senator Norment's SB1117, was reported from the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services on a unanimous vote this morning.

YEAS--Wagner, Hanger, Puller, Locke, McDougle, Barker, Norment, Black, Reeves, Favola, Wexton, McWaters, Petersen, Chafin--14.

NAYS--0.

Currrently, if a teacher is accused of child abuse, they are removed from the classroom with pay pending a finding from the local Child Protective Services agency.  The law specifies that CPS has from 45 to 90 days to issue a finding - 90 if local law enforcement is involved in the investigation.  However, the courts have ruled that the timelines are "merely directory, not mandatory."

When these timelines are ignored and the investigations drag, sometime taking more than a year, the teacher is out of the classroom, the quality of instruction suffers, and the life of the accused is a hellish purgatory.

Norment's bill affirms the legislative intent in regard to the timelines, ensuring that they will be adhered to.

This bill heads to Senate, probably on Monday, and it should be on the uncontested calendar.  VEA owe's a special thanks to Senator Norment and to all members of the committee.

Delegate Orrock's HJ558, which calls on various entities to study the teacher shortage, reported from the House Rules Subcommittee on Studies today. 

YEAS--Knight, Orrock, Joannou, Spruill--4.

NAYS--Landes--1.

ABSTENTIONS--0.

NOT VOTING--Ware--1.

This resolution and Delegate Ware's HJ504 are steps in the right direction.  Virginia is flying blind in regard to teacher demographics and turnover rates, and we are in danger of being wholly unprepared as baby-boom teachers retire in great numbers.

The provision of some funds for school employee salaries in the budget seems probable at this point.  It is important to understand that the introduced budget has no funds for salaries, but the Governor expressed a willingness to work with the GA on that issue.  The House leadership took the first public step forward, and the Senate leadership is working in the same direction.  Stones are being turned in search of the needed funds, and, fortunately, revenue projections are improving.  Any salary funding will improve the ability of your school division to provide a raise for the next school year.  It is of crucial importance that we appreciate the efforts underway and not respond to them by saying "That's not enough."  Unless, of course, you think nothing is better than something.

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