Mayor Levar M. Stoney, Richmond City Council President Cynthia Newbille, Richmond Public Schools Board Chairwoman Dawn Page and Superintendent of Schools Jason Kamras released the following statement:
Richmond, VA — The budgets proposed by the Virginia house and the senate fall far short of what Virginia’s students and teachers need and deserve, cutting millions of dollars from the investments proposed to them in December. The governor’s proposed budget should have been a floor – and not a ceiling – for K-12 funding, and the Virginia General Assembly has let us down again. Although we appreciate the commitment shown to addressing teacher salaries, these budgets ignore the stark reality that state funding for K-12 education is still down 9% since the 2009 recession. Every year that goes by without meaningful new investment is another year that we are leaving a class of students behind.
In Richmond, our state funding needs are even more acute with our state distribution down 19% since the 2009 recession. This inequity must be addressed to give our city the tools it needs to fully fund and improve our schools. Yet the legislature is ignoring the critical At-Risk Add-On program and has cut its proposed increases that would help direct funding to our Commonwealth’s students who need it the most.
Fortunately, there is still time for the legislature to sufficiently increase funding for the At-Risk Add-On, support staff positions like school counselors, school construction and other key initiatives to help fund the true cost of education. We urge members of the General Assembly to make K-12 education a top priority and send a clear message that our Commonwealth is committed to giving every Virginia student the educational resources they need to succeed academically in a safe and healthy environment.