Monday, February 1, 2016

VEA Lobby Day Marching Orders

If you were unable to join the 300 VEA members who came to Richmond for Lobby Day today, perhaps these Marching Orders will help you lobby from home when you call or email your legislators.

But first, click here to check out a great editorial from Sunday's Virginian-Pilot:

1.        Teacher Salary:  Urge Support of these budget amendments.  Remember that Virginia’s teachers currently earn 88% of the national average - $6,759 behind.
First Year 2% Teacher Salary Incentive  - Delegate Yost
2% Teacher Salary Increase in July 2016 – Senator Chafin
4% pay increase for all public school teachers – Senator Sturtevant

2.        Maintain the Governor’s level of investment in Virginia’s Schools ($800 million):  Remember Virginia currently ranks 41st in the nation in state funding for public schools.

 Statewide Health Insurance Option:  SB384 Vogel, SB675 Chafin, HB864 Kilgore
                JLARC estimates a savings of between $44 and $66 million

Protection of Teacher Personal Information:  HB524 LeMunyon (Professional Growth Indicators), SB564 Norment (Licensure Applications)

HB524 Talking Points

  •          HB524 confirms the intent of legislators who in 2013 voted 99-0 in the House and 39-1 in the Senate to protect the privacy rights of teachers from public  release of test scores with their names identified.
  •         Language in HB524 strikes a proper balance between the privacy rights of teachers and the ability of local school administrators and school boards to exercise supervision over their employees.
  •     Without the language embedded in HB524, school officials may be compelled to provide, upon FOIA request, identifiable records of teachers with student test score data—an outcome that clearly was not the intent of legislators in 2013.
  •      Public release of test score information, with teacher names identified, would have extremely adverse effects on school climate and cause major disruptions to school administration, with no clear benefit for students.

SB564 Talking Points

  •     Virginia’s teachers deserve the same professional treatment accorded such professions as law and medicine.
  •     The records maintained by licensing bodies for attorneys, doctors, veterinarians and others are protected from public disclosure.
  •     Similarly, teacher license application and investigation records of teachers should remain with the licensing body and not subject to FOIA.
  •     The protection accorded by SB524 serves a public interest by supporting complete and accurate provision of application and investigative records by a teacher candidate to the board, with the assurance that the information would not be misused by the media or in a public forum.
  •     At a time when Virginia struggles to attract sufficient candidates for careers in public service, SB524 would at least remove one potential barrier for teachers.
  •     The public is better served by making the teaching profession an attractive and rewarding career for those considering it.

Three Person Panel:  HB864 Hugo (panel only), HB1352 John Bell (panel and hearing officer), SB660 Favola (hearing officer only)

Please support these bills to bring fairness to the teacher dismissal procedures by allowing school boards the option of utilizing a three-person panel chaired by the hearing officer, requiring that the hearing officer not be an active or retired school board employee or relative of a school board employee, and requiring that hearing officers be appointed in a public meeting after the opportunity for public comment prior to appointment.


Charter School Constitutional Amendment (See January 18th posting on this blog.)

Virtual School Bill HB8 (See January 15th posting on this blog.)

Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts (See January 25th posting on this blog.)