2017 LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM
VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL BUSINESS OFFICIALS (VASBO)
VASBO members create, administer, and lead the business operations of school divisions across the Commonwealth. Its members are professional leaders and experts in their field. VASBO members are qualified resources for proposing and evaluating legislative actions of the General Assembly.
VISION AND VALUE:
1. A level of funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia that reflects a strong commitment to,and value of, public education; and
2. Increased collaboration and planning with legislators and key stakeholder groups including the Virginia Board of Education, VSBA, VASS, and VEA.
I. FUNDING PUBLIC EDUCATION IN VIRGINIA
A) FUND SALARIES
• The 2016-2018 Biennium budget provided salary increases for school and state employees, contingent upon revenue forecasts. Employee raises are critical to the recruitment and retention of teachers and support staff. Restoration of the funding for employee raises should be a high priority for the General Assembly.
B) VIRGINIA RETIREMENT SYSTEM
• The 2016-2018 biennium budget accelerated the increase in VRS rates to 100% funding in FY 2018, in lieu of the previous plan to achieve 90% funding in FY 2018 and 100% funding in FY 2019. The VRS rate increases result in substantial budget impacts which are disproportionately funded by the locality. In recognition of the projected shortfall in state revenue, the state should return to the statutory timeline set in 2012, which achieves the full actuarial rate in FY 2019. This plan restoration will benefit the budget for both the state and localities for FY 2018.
C) FUND SUPPORT COSTS ACCORDING TO BEST PRACTICES OF SCHOOL DIVISIONS
• State reductions in support costs, made during the “Great Recession,” should be restored before additional resources are directed to incentive funding.
D) FULLY FUND VIRGINIA BOARD OF EDUCATION SOQ RECOMMENDATIONS
Fund the revisions to the SOQs endorsed by the Virginia Board since the 2007 session.
• One full-time reading specialist for each 1,000 students;
• One full-time principal in every elementary, middle, and high school;
• One full-time assistant principal for each 400 students in every school;
• One speech-language pathologist for every 60 cases;
• One full-time mathematics specialist for each 1,000 students in grades
kindergarten to eight;
• One full-time data manager or test coordinator for each 1,000 students;
• Instructional and paraprofessional staff for the blind or vision impaired.
E) TECHNOLOGY FUNDING
• Continue state funding for technology by recognizing the magnitude of the annual expense to maintain, train, ensure connectivity, and offer current technology opportunities to students.
• Seek to continue or increase this funding through annual state revenues and to work toward the elimination of repeated debt issues for this annual expenditure to save the associated interest and issue expense.
F) RECOGNIZE NEED FOR SCHOOL RENOVATION AND CONSTRUCTION
• With nearly half of Virginia’s public schools over 30 years old, school divisions have pressing construction and renovation needs. These needs are compounded by state mandates and incentive programs such as those related to class size, special education students, and alternative education programs. Too often the additional space required for these beneficial programs is not accounted for by the state.
G) REMOVE LOCAL MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT REQUIREMENT FOR LOTTERY
• The FY 2017-2018 Biennium Budget requires a local funding maintenance of effort from FY 2014 to qualify for the Lottery proceeds per pupil allocation. The retroactive nature of the requirement penalizes school divisions in which localities reduced local per pupil funding since FY 2014.
H) VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAMS
• Oppose any bills which would require funding to “follow the student” in situations in which the home school division offers a virtual program, but the student elects to enroll in one offered by another school division.
II. RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF TEACHERS
Seek ways to attract and retain highly qualified individuals to the teaching profession in Virginia.
A) Fund teacher pay recognizing their professional status: Provide state share of funding to move teacher pay to the national average;
B) Effective date for salary increases: Set July 1 as the start date for all future pay increases;
C) Revision to the current formula used to calculate average teacher pay: VASBO believes the state’s use of the linear weighted average approach in calculating statewide salary figures for instructional personnel is faulty, resulting in state funding that is based upon an artificially low average teacher salary.
III. PROTECT AND PRESERVE VA’S INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
VASBO does not support the following non-public school options:
A) Oppose efforts to broaden Virginia’s charter school law, and especially any efforts to create an appeals process, specify a funding formula without negotiations, or require judicial review.
B) Oppose any legislation which provides for the use of vouchers or tax credits for non-public school students, a state- mandated program of choice which supersedes the local school board's authority to establish school zones, or allows for re-segregation of schools.
C) Oppose legislation that would require local school boards to provide for the part-time admission and enrollment of non-public school students. Many issues related to liability, attendance, safety, discipline, transportation, course availability, student morale, and financial costs would have to be addressed prior to considering such a mandate.
IV. BINDING ARBITRATION
VASBO opposes any legislation that would amend the Constitution of Virginia by limiting the authority of local school boards to make decisions affecting personnel matters.
VASBO encourages the General Assembly to pass a State Budget within the defined annual meeting time frame. The challenges created by a delayed budget authorization are problematic and burdensome to state departments and agencies.