State Per Pupil Spending

The Great Recession forced the General Assembly to make tough budgetary decisions in order to pass a balanced budget. One area in particular that has been impacted is funding for K-12 education. Roughly 95% of Virginia schools have had their funding decreased… but not Fairfax County!

My fellow Northern Virginian legislators and I have increased funding for education in Fairfax County. Over the past five years we have delivered $816/student/yr. more to our Fairfax County Public Schools! We worked tirelessly to have the tax dollars generated in Fairfax County kept here for our schools despite numerous attempts to divert the funds to other parts of the state.  I thought you may be interested in seeing the data yourself:

Financial Year Funding per student
2006-2007 $2,854
2007-2008 $2,876
2008-2009 $2,928
2009-2010 $2,555
2010-2011 $2,837
2011-2012 $2,896
2012-2013 $3,271
2013-2014 $3,263
2014-2015 $3,371

Update on Education in Virginia

As Session has come to an end and the Governor has signed most bills into law, I wanted to share a number of bills and budget amendments that were passed relating to K-12 and higher education.

Among the budget amendments are pay increase for teachers and funding for more in-state slots for in-state students to attend Virginia’s colleges and universities. . Here are some of the bills that I voted for and were signed into law. You can find more information and the full text of the bill at lis.virginia.gov. Just type the bill number into the search box.

HB 1307 – Requires that students’ social security number be kept confidential.

HB 1320 – Permits teachers seeking licensure renewal to satisfy renewal requirements in ways other than taking a university course.

HB 1334 – Protects student privacy by ensuring that personally identifiable information about students collected by public schools, in addition to social security numbers, is kept confidential.

HB 1351 – Requires the Board of Education to establish (starting with high school seniors graduating in 2016) criteria for awarding a diploma seal of biliteracy to any student who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one other language.

HB 1490 – Provides for expedited retakes of certain SOL tests in all grade levels.

HB 1615 – Permits the state Board of Education to design SOL tests to include multiple subject areas.

HB 1616 – Requires localities to align the curriculum in career and technical education classes with the appropriate national certification requirements. The aim is to ensure that high school graduates who graduate with a technical education are certified so that they have a better opportunity to secure employment.

HB 1672 – Revises the planned School Report Card so that it expresses school performance for each school using several factors rather than a single letter grade.

HB 1674 – Allows some schools to be reviewed for accreditation every three years rather than annually.

HB 1675 – Permits the state Board of Education to waive requirements for a specific number of hours in class for a student to earn graduation credits, provided the student has demonstrated he or she has learned the course material.

HB 1698 – Requires that parents must be given advance notice anytime a school plans to use a student survey that includes questions pertaining to mental health, medical information, controlled substance use, or questions of a sexual nature.

SB 1286 – Requires local school budgets to be published online in detailed, line item form.

HB 1336 – Requires all public colleges and universities in Virginia to provide the same credit toward graduation when credit is given for certain classes and test taken in high school.

HB 1715 – Requires public colleges and universities to notify parents, according to certain procedures, when a student has been evaluated for suicidal tendencies.

HB 1785 – Provides for better coordination between campus law enforcement personnel and local law enforcement agencies related to investigating sexual assault crimes.

HB 1930 – Clarifies the process for reporting sexual assault at public and private colleges and universities and includes provisions for victim support services.

On another note, you may have heard in the news about the challenges that face local school budgets. I’d like you to know that the state is providing record levels of funding for local school divisions again this year and next year. In Fairfax, state funding for K-12 public education has increased 24% in four years, meaning an addition $534 per student of state funding.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov or (703) 451-3555.

Dave Albo

NVTA Adds the Widening of Rolling Road to List of Recommended Projects

Following a review of the public comments, three candidate projects were added to the list of recommended highway projects, for a total of 21 recommended highway projects:

  • Project 5C (Fairfax County) Rolling Road Widening from Old Keene Mill Road to Franconia Springfield Parkway
  • Project 8R (Fairfax County) Frontier Drive Extension and Braided Ramps
  • Project 8S (Fairfax County) Richmond Highway (from Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway to Napper Road)

You can view these additions here – http://www.thenovaauthority.org/PDFs/Meetings/2015/4.23.15/VII%20%20Adoption%20of%20the%20FY2015-16%20Two%20Year%20Program.pdf.

I know that the Rolling Road project will be of interest to many Springfield residents. Once I receive specific information about the project, I will be sure to share it with all.

NOVA Six-Year Improvement Program Public Hearing TONIGHT

As a reminder, the Northern Virginia hearing for the Six-Year Improvement Program is at 6 p.m. TONIGHT, Tuesday, April 28th at VDOT’s District Office (4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030).

If you cannot make it, you can watch the meeting live here – http://www.windrosemedia.com/windstream/vdot-specialprojects/

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) released on April 15 the draft Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP), which allocates $12.9 billion to transportation projects over the next six fiscal years beginning July 1, 2015.  Projects include highway, road, bridge, rail, transit, bicycle/pedestrian paths and other transportation improvements across the state. To see a list of the draft projects, go to http://syip.virginiadot.org/Pages/allProjects.aspx

You can also submit your comments by email or mail by May 22, 2015.

Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.gov

Infrastructure Investment Director

Virginia Department of Transportation

1401 East Broad St.

Richmond, VA 23219

Richmond Times-Dispatch – Medicaid to claim higher education resources

medicaid pacman

I wanted to share an article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch that describes how Medicaid spending is crowding out funding for other state services, specifically higher education. The report’s authors describe Medicaid spending as “the Pac-Man of state government.”

Report: Medicaid to claim more of Va. higher-education resources

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Medicaid costs will consume an increasing share of state resources, making it difficult to sustain funding levels for higher education and other discretionary programs over the next decade, a study by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center concludes.

The report released Tuesday by the center’s new National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education projects “a dismal outlook” for public higher education funding largely because of “the continued crowding-out of discretionary budget categories by Medicaid.”

“This is going to be a problem. We need to start working on it now,” said Ray Scheppach, the commission’s director and a senior lecturer at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

The report was the first by the commission, a nonpartisan effort launched by the Miller Center last month to study alternative funding models.

Medicaid was selected for the first study, Scheppach said, because it is required spending that is like “the Pac-Man of state government.”

“Medicaid is the driver,” he said.

The report projects slower economic growth over the next decade and rising Medicaid costs through 2024.

Nationally, Medicaid spending accounted for less than 10 percent of state-sourced funds 30 years ago. In fiscal 2013, the share grew to more than 15 percent, with a resulting squeeze on higher education, according to the study. Higher-ed funding has fallen from around 14 percent of state-sourced spending in the late 1980s to just under 13 percent today.

The analysis, which was conducted for the commission by Moody’s Analytics, found state-by-state results vary significantly.

In Virginia, Medicaid’s share of total state spending was 11 percent in fiscal 2013, while higher education’s share was 14.1 percent. By 2024, higher education’s share is projected to be 13.5 percent and Medicaid would account for 14.3 percent.

The projections are based on the current number of states opting for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act — Virginia has not — although the report expects more will opt in.

If Virginia opts in, higher-ed’s share of state spending would be 13.5 percent in 2024; Medicaid’s would be 14.9 percent.

Nationally, the analysis predicts Medicaid spending will grow between 6 and 8 percent per year over most of the decade then accelerate after 2020 as the federal share of Medicaid declines.

National state Medicaid spending is projected to reach 17.9 percent by fiscal 2024.

“That equates to as much as $60 billion spent on Medicaid over the next decade that previously would have been available for discretionary items such as higher education,” the report says.

Higher-education spending will grow less than 4 percent per year. Except for a few states, the share of total state spending for higher education will decline between .25 and .50 percentage points over this period.

Peter Blake, director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, said by email the report is based on “a number of assumptions — all of which will change over the next 10 years or so.”

The “crowding out” impact already has been felt in Virginia as state funding has declined over the past generation, he said.

But he added “investment in an efficient system of higher education will contribute to a stronger economy. It is one strategy that can reduce financial pressures on other public services.”

Scheppach said without greater investment the nation risks losing its competitive edge, citing estimates that 60 percent of working-age adults will need a postsecondary credential by 2025.

“If we don’t increase the number we will have a serious competitive problem in the world economy,” he said.

Last week I had the pleasure of teaching a class to fourth graders at Cardinal Forest Elementary. I have been doing this presentation for over 15 years and it is still one of my favorite lessons to teach!

I speak about the three branches of Virginia Government and the functions of each. In addition, I try to spice it up by bringing a picture of the Chamber, copies of some bills the kids can understand, and a few copies of the actual Code of Virginia.

I had a great time! Thanks for having me CFES!

IMG_4915

South County Pyramid Art Show

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center to view the new art exhibit. Wow! I never cease to be impressed by how talented our local students are. I hope you had an opportunity to visit!

IMG_3790

HB 1499 Passes into Law

I had a great time at the NOVA Breastfeeding Partners Happy Hour at Fiona’s Irish Pub last night! It was great to celebrate HB 1499 being passed into law with some of the women who helped get their legislators to pass this bill with bi-partisan unanimous support in both the House and Senate.
To refresh your memory, Virginia law stated that no person may bar another from any area open to the public based upon their race, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability. This bill adds to that list by stating that a mother may breast-feed in any place where the mother is lawfully present. The purpose of this bill is pretty simple – to give mothers the ability to nourish their child wherever and whenever they may need to.

1900430_10152797542994607_5346427395469813656_o 11146314_10152797541434607_1494120265324508397_o 11080326_10152797540724607_8947971728805266136_o

Dave & Ben become “Tree Huggers”

Not too long ago, Ben and I took a trip to the Franklin Museum. Here’s a picture of us hugging trees with Lego Men.

Dad and Ben Tree Hugging with Lego Men

Conner behind “Conner’s Law” visits my office

IMG_4775

Conner’s Law was approved by the Governor on March 26, 2015 and will go into effect on July 1, 2015.

This bill extends child support past the age of 18 when the child has an intellectual disability or is developmentally delayed.

You can view the entire bill here.