Monday, January 24, 2011

350 Lobby Day Participants

Three hundred and fifty VEA members participated in our 2011 VEA Lobby Day. We thank each and every one of them for standing up for public education on this cold day in Richmond.

Here is the lobby day message they delivered to legislators:

1. As Virginia’s economy recovers from the Great Recession, and state revenues pick up – place high priority on repairing the damage done to our schools in the past two years, when we have seen state funding per-pupil fall by almost 15%.

2. Please support the budget amendments from Delegate Tata and Senator Houck to provide 3% salary increases to school employees (see the one-sider in your folder).

3. Please protect the VRS defined benefit program, reject the notion of re-imposing the 5% employee contribution, and reject efforts to move to a defined contribution plan. Please commit to repaying last year’s VRS shortfall and to honoring the certified contribution rate from the VRS Board of Trustees in the future. That is the route to a strong VRS (see the one-sider in your folder) .

4. Please protect the General Fund, upon which core services such as public education depend for funding. Reject efforts to increase debt and future debt service costs and reject tax credits which deplete the fund. The percentage of the state budget going to public education is at an all-time low point (29.88%) and “shrinking the pie” will only make things worse. The course we are on will “starve” our schools.

5. Restore the “Hold Harmless” funds appropriated in Chapter 874. Cutting these funds cuts instructional funding in 97 school divisions.

Please share with your representatives how the cuts to public education are eroding the quality of the educational opportunity of the children you serve.