Monday, February 21, 2011

Call Your Senator Today

No holiday on Capitol Hill!

HB 1483 is a narrowly crafted Labor Day bill providing a level playing field to the students of Roanoke City, a location surrounded by a county (Roanoke County) with a Labor Day waiver. County students have two more weeks of instruction before IB and SOL tests than their city neighbors. This bill will fix that.

As reported earlier, this bill reported from the Senate Committee on Education and Health on a 10-5 vote. Senators Saslaw and Norment led efforts to re-refer the bill to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor, where Labor Day bills are routinely killed. Big News!!! The motion to re-refer failed in the Senate on a 13-26 vote. Norment then moved that the bill go by for the day. The final vote should be tomorrow. Please call your Senator urging support of HB 1483.

HB 1548 was a bill that would have unnecessarily burdened teachers and other school personnel with additional reporting requirements. It required the reporting of every act which singularly or in cumulative effect is likely to result in the student’s suspension or the filing of a court petition.

The removal of professional discretion as to when to report infractions to parents would have undermined the position of the classroom teacher and would have imposed an unnecessary burden on those already overburdened. This bill was defeated by the Senate on a 12-28 vote. VEA joined forces with VSBA and VASS to defeat this bill, which was supported by the Family Foundation.

Finally, HB 2494, which allows local school divisions to seek waivers to the rules and regulations governing our schools, went by for the day to delay the final Senate vote until tomorrow. One of the reasons why we have the fourth best schools in the nation is that we hold our schools to uniform standards. Our biggest concern is that this bill could erode these standards and be used to reduce planning time, increase class sizes, and reduce access to school nurses, guidance counselors, and libraries.

Please call your Senators urging support for HB1483 and opposition to 2494. Need your Senator's number? Click here.