Friday, February 17, 2012

Thanks VASSP, Black Indeed - Taxpayers to Fund Private School Tuitions

The fight to keep a fair dismissal process for Virginia’s teachers and principals by killing HB 576 in the Senate, has become a little less lonely. The Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals is standing with us. VEA applauds VASSP for their position opposing the passage of HB 576. Please click here to view their testimony against the bill.

Listen to Jeff Schapiro talk about the "teacher firing bill."

When teachers donned black in protest of declining support for public education, none would have known what a bleak day it would be for public education in Virginia. The National Education Association released a NEA Research Rankings and Estimates report showing that Virginia’s teacher salary has fallen to 31st in the nation. We have lost all the ground we gained under Governor’s Robb and Balilse,” said Dr. Kitty Boitnott, VEA President.

Virginia had risen to 21st when Mark Warner was Governor, now we have fallen to a ranking equal to when Governor Robb was inaugurated.

And,with the passage of SB 131,for the first time since Massive Resistance the General Assembly has authorized the use of public funds to pay private school tuitions at taxpayer expense. This bill diverts up to $25 million of General Fund revenue for the purpose of paying private school tuitions. Instead of taking money from public schools for tuition tax credits, we should improve public schools by decreasing class sizes, updating textbooks and preventing additional teacher layoffs. When public schools are struggling financially and laying off teachers, the last thing we need is to spend taxpayer money on private schools.

Notes: Virginia is the 7th wealthiest state in the nation, but ranks 35th in per pupil state funding.

Thanks to all who participated in Black Friday. Our president received many emails reporting what was happening in schools across Virginia. My favorite was from Victor Gravely at Max Meadows Elementary School in Wythe County. Victor wrote: “I am proud to say that if you were to cut off the lights here at MMES you wouldn't see any classroom or office personnel unless they were smiling. Everybody here loved the idea, including nonmembers and all party affiliations. : )” I love the folks in Southwest Virginia – they know how to stick together and they do it with humor!

My former local, the Virginia Beach Education Association, got some great TV Coverage.

The House and Senate will present their amendments to the Governor’s budget on Sunday. Please check this blog on Sunday evening.