Part of this year’s state budget includes much needed support for school districts that are rapidly losing students.
Virginia doles out funds to public schools based on how many students are enrolled. More students, more money. But as enrollment drops rapidly in places like far southwest Virginia, it’s been a challenge for some school to keep the lights on and the buses running.
"So lawmakers have approved additional assistance for school divisions that are experiencing declining enrollment to help manage some of the fixed costs that they have that don’t fluctuate just by the number of students they have in the classroom," explains Chris Duncombe with the Commonwealth Institute.
This year’s budget includes slightly more than $7 million to be distributed among qualifying districts.
“This is something the state had done in the past and eliminated during the financial strain of the recession -- it’s a positive movement to start to restore these supports for public schools,” says Duncombe.
1 in 5 school divisions in Virginia qualify for the extra money, including Bedford, Botetourt, and Pulaski counties.