Rural coalition makes another push in Richmond for money to repair schools, raise teacher salaries
As the General Assembly’s money committees put finishing touches on the state’s next two-year budget, a coalition of small and rural schools is advocating remedies for unmet and inadequately funded public education needs.
“We have great appreciation for the verbal support public education has recently received,” said Bristol Virginia Public Schools Superintendent Keith Perrigan, president of the Coalition of Small and Rural Schools of Virginia. “However, words and promises don’t pay the bills. That takes action.”
Among the top priorities for school divisions is increasing teacher pay and additional funding to replace or fix schools that are falling apart. Public education leaders came to the Capitol on Thursday to make one more push for legislation and spending in the proposed budget.
Educators point to Virginia’s low unemployment rate of 2.8%, its distinction as the top state in which to do business and its recovery from the recession as reasons to properly invest in public education.
“We are no longer in a recession,” said Del. Chris Hurst, D-Montgomery. “It’s time to put this money back into our school divisions.”
Hurst and Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, both of whom serve on the powerful appropriations committees, have introduced budget amendments to provide financial relief to schools experiencing unexpected enrollment losses.
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