Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Back! Constitutional Amendment on Charter Schools...and Gun Day Monday

We worked hard last year to kill the Constitutional Amendment that would have granted the Virginia Board of Education the authority to establish charter schools in any division in the Commonwealth regardless of the desire of the local school board. Sometimes the General Assembly is a bit like a dog chasing its own tail.

This session Delegate Rob Bell and Senator Mark Obenshain have brought back the exact same Constitutional amendment. Right now the Virginia Constitution grants the authority to establish and maintain schools to the local school boards. Local school boards have the authority to grant charters that fill a need in their community and have a solid, fiscally responsible, application. Taking away this authority is the wrong thing to do. Think about your school division right now. If you were told by the state Board of Education you must open a new high school next year, no matter your current budget situation, staffing, or student needs, what would be the implications? Stripping this authority from the local school boards is the wrong thing to do, and we will continue to fight the effort.

The House Education Committee met this morning. There were no bills of interest for us, but the committee did hear a presentation from the new Executive Director of the Virginia High School League (VHSL). Interesting information on their redesign and efforts to make processes easier for schools and student athletes. The presentation is available on the House of Education page.

We are inching closer to VEA Lobby Day. One week from today VEA members from all over the state will come to the General Assembly to advocate for our positions. Make sure you make appointments with your legislators now. The pace is frantic during session, so make sure you get your time with them (or their Legislative Aides).

Today was Monday, Gun Day. The General Assembly was filled with gun rights advocates and their firearms. Always an interesting day in Richmond. Early morning sub-committees start tomorrow, things will really start moving now.