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

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