Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Three Bills of Way Too Many

Today HB2313 reported from the House Finance Committee on a 14 to 8 vote.
I am all for fixing Virginia’s transportation problem, but not by reducing the General Fund which funds schools, health, public safety and other core services. 
HB 2313 will transfer $811.5 million in General Fund Revenue to the Highway Maintenance Operating Fund over the next five years.   Approximately 30% of the General Fund now goes to public education, so it appears that $243.45 million less will be available for our schools over these five years.
It is hard to understand eliminating the gas tax when we need more funds for transportation, and then taking funds from schools to fund transportation.  That is what this bill does.
We need more, not less funding for our schools.  Virginia currently ranks 35th in the nation in state per-pupil funding for public education.  We are running our schools on less now that we had in 2007-2008.  This is no time to shrink General Fund revenues.
I urge you to send a message to your delegate urging a vote against HB 2313.  To do so, click here.
HB 1999, a bill to give schools grades, A-F, was reported from the House Education Committee despite opposition from VEA, VSBA, VASS and the VA PTA.  The last thing the schools in Virginia’s poorest neighborhoods, where the job of teaching is most challenging and resources are in short supply, is an F from the state.  Would any of you care to give the Virginia legislature a grade on support for public education? 
House Ed also reported a bill with noble intent and unintended consequences.  HB 2028 means to prevent student deaths related to heart failure; however, the bill requires that “Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license shall provide evidence of completion of certification or training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of  automated external defibrillators.”  One more hoop!  If we are going to do this, shouldn’t it be required in-service unrelated to licensure?