Friday, August 15, 2014

Budget Update from Governor's Address to Joint Money Committees

This morning, Governor McAuliffe addressed the Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly to provide a budget update and report on the finances of the Commonwealth. The address spelled out a bleak financial picture and the need to significantly lower the revenue forecast for the 2015-2016 biennium. The governor stated that this fiscal year marks the first time that general fund revenues declined in Virginia other than in a national recession. Typically our economy parallels or outpaces the national economy, but we are seeing the national economy grow while our economy suffers due to federal government spending cuts.

The overall budget shortfall is worse than expected at $2.5B over the biennium. However, with set asides from the FY'14 budget and utilizing the "rainy day" fund, approximately $1.55B of the shortfall is already covered. The governor and legislators will need to identify $882M in cuts for the next biennium- $346M in FY’15 and $536M in FY’16.

You can read the full text of the governor’s address here: VSBA will continue to update you on the budget and potential impacts to school divisions as more information becomes available.

Thank you for your continued advocacy and support of public education. 


Back-to-School: Engage your parents

Parental involvement is one of the most important factors in a child’s education. Parent’s who set high expectations for their child’s educational achievements and monitor their child’s learning process inspire their children to get excited about academics. Children who are motivated to learn behave better in school and have higher attendance rates, which inevitably enables the teachers to spend more time on classroom instruction.
As our students and teachers start back to school, it’s a great time to engage parents in their child’s learning, the work of your school board, and advocate for their continued support of public education. Over the next month, we ask that you take time to meet with parents and your local PTA/PTO’s, and especially those hard-to-reach parents. You can engage your parents by opening lines of communication, discussing successes in your schools, and listening to what they see as challenges. Utilize back-to-school nights, Saturday mornings at the soccer field, and social media to have these important conversations. We've even seen one local school board member hold “office hours” where they allow community members to express their ideas and concerns. Consider employing community-based organizations, like faith-based organizations, local Head Start programs, and homeless shelters, to help disseminate information and materials.
Parental engagement is a key to the success of your students and your schools. They can be your best advocate in your schools and in your community. Take a few minutes to engage them now!
Don’t forget to utilize the VSBA Grassroots Advocacy Guide for policy topics to discuss and good questions to ask when engaging with parents. Questions, ideas on ways to advocate and engage your community, or success stories to share? Send them to VSBA Government Relations Coordinator Emily Webb at