K-12 Budget Sees Modest Increase
The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Virginia lawmakers have approved only minor increases in the current biennial K-12 budget that covers fiscal years 2005 and 2006. Gov. Mark Warner, who is in his fourth and final year in office, signed the spending measure.
Because the Virginia Constitution allows governors to serve only a single four-year term at a time, Gov. Warner hoped to make his final legislative session a good one for public schools. He succeeded only in part.
Lawmakers resisted the Democrat’s plans to raise state spending for school breakfasts and other smaller programs.
This year’s adjustment of the biennial budget increases state aid for schools by $46.7 million, or less than 1 percent, in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The slight increase keeps state aid for K-12 schools at about $10.1 billion in fiscal 2006. It will be added to last year’s $1.5 billion jump in K-12 funding for the entire biennium.
The budgets for schools have improved under the governor’s watch, though that has been the result of action by the governor and the legislature.
Last year, the Republican-controlled legislature approved Mr. Warner’s major overhaul of the state tax code and raised sales taxes to provide more money for schools and other state services. In fact, lawmakers nearly doubled the increase in funding for the biennium that the governor has proposed.
Vol. 24, Issue 34, Page 31