Virginia Republicans introduce budget that all but destroys public education

Today (Feb 20), Virginia House of Delegates Republicans announced their amendments to Governor Northam’s proposed budget for the 2022 session. Unlike the historic budget proposed by Governor Northam, the House budget plan decimates funding for public schools and will leave our students behind. It is clear that Republicans remain committed to the anti-education platform they ran on and have been pushing since the beginning of session.

While House Democrats have been putting forward legislation to support our students, teachers, and public schools, Republicans have been working to pass legislation to undermine our public schools and this budget is clear evidence of their true motives.

In their first effort to gut public school funding, House Republicans siphoned $150 million away from local school divisions to fund their “laboratory school” legislation, which is nothing but a poorly disguised vehicle for charter schools.

Next, they cut millions of dollars in funding for early childhood education, stripping our children of much-needed support—setting them up for failure. This is a major blow to children across the commonwealth and it will have lasting negative impacts.

Finally, in perhaps the most alarming and least surprising blow to public education, House Republicans slashed funding for long-overdue raises for our hard-working teachers. Virginia has consistently ranked as the worst, or one of the worst, states in the nation for teacher pay, and House Republicans have chosen to turn a blind eye at a time when teachers are overwhelmed and leaving the profession at alarming rates.

This budget is the latest in a long line of attacks as part of the Republican war on Virginia’s public schools.  Republicans have made it clear that they want to cripple our public schools by nickel and diming their funding. The establishment of these charter schools will devastate our local schools by stripping them of $150 million in funding they desperately need right now. Governor Youngkin has made it clear that he is the Anti-Education Governor and the budget put forward by his Republican colleagues only solidifies that fact.