Va. Lawmakers Give Governor Half His Preschool Request
The following offers highlights of the recent legislative session. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2006 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.
Gov. Tim Kaine received a little more than half the money he requested for preschool pilot programs during the legislative session that concluded Feb. 24.
Virginia is in the second year of its two-year budget cycle, meaning that any changes to the spending plan were handled as amendments. The governor, a Democrat, had asked for $4.6 million to pay for a preschool initiative intended to give information about the feasibility of expanding preschool to all Virginia youngsters, one of his campaign promises. He received $2.5 million instead.
The budget includes a 3 percent raise for teachers, beginning Dec. 1, which will cost about $64 million. The legislature followed another one of the governor’s recommendations by adding $4.3 million to an early-reading-intervention program for K-3.
Those budget amendments and other adjustments will result in $5.83 billion being spent on general aid to public education for the 2007-08 budget year, an increase of about 3 percent from the previously budgeted $5.65 billion.
The legislature also passed a bill requiring the state superintendent of schools and the state health commissioner to work together on a program to address childhood obesity.
Virginia’s legislative body almost became the first in the nation to require girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, a cause of cervical cancer, as a condition of school enrollment. But Mr. Kaine got the legislature to make it optional for parents, and also indicated that parents would not have to inform schools of their decision in the matter.
Vol. 26, Issue 33, Page 18