Monday, January 23, 2017

The Rain...The Wind...We Were Not Deterred

In what has been described as the worst weather for any VEA Lobby Day in recent history, our members still turned out, carried our message, and told their stories! We were not deterred.
Just about 300 VEA members braved a morning that was quite unwelcoming to our group. Our members were armed with umbrellas, marching orders, schedules of meetings, stickers, and stories. Thank you all for your work today. You do more in this one day than your lobby team can do in a week. We appreciate it.

Today teacher salaries took the lead. Virginia is more than $7,200 behind the national teacher salary average. In fact, Virginia ranks 30th out of 50 states. VEA initiated legislation would put in place a state policy to bring teacher salaries to the National Average and our members were asking for support of that bill today. But they did more. This morning President Livingston hand delivered letters to leadership in the House and Senate Money Committees urging state support for at least a 2% salary increase for all SOQ funded positions. President Livingston then gathered about 100 members in the Lobby of the House Education Committee to brief them on our current situation-there are no House or Senate budget amendments that provide state funding for any teacher salary increase. Our folks were fired up. We had solid coverage by the press, so be on the look-out on your local TV news and in your local papers. Well done VEA!

Lots of bills of VEA interest were up today in different committees. One highlight, the House Education Committee took up calendar bills and Delegate Greason’s bill (HB1983) reported.  Also reporting out of committee was a bill that would give more waivers for CTE teacher licensure (VEA opposes).

Tomorrow Del. Bell’s Virtual School Bill and Del. LaRock’s Parental Choice Education Savings Account bills are up in subcommittee. We will also hear more details on the Governor’s Virtual Bill.
Thank you to all of our members to traveled to Richmond for Lobby Day. Keep up the good work. Meeting with your legislator is not a “one and done” action. Build a relationship with them, invite them to your events, tell them your stories, make sure they know you, and offer yourself as a resource to them on public school issues. Let them know you are watching.