Virginia lawmakers return to Richmond in less than 2 weeks to craft a two-year budget some hope will include a compromise on Medicaid expansion. But Virginia Education Association leaders say while they're at it, that would also be the best opportunity to re-evaluate how to fund education The VEA says while Medicaid expansion seems to be the theme of this year's session, next year it ought to be education, and now's the time to get a head start on it.
VEA President Meg Gruber says while Virginia may rank high nationally in its quality of education right now, that won't hold true for long if the General Assembly fails to provide more funding for the public schools. She says teacher salaries are some of the lowest in the nation, and that alone will make it difficult to attract more qualified teachers and staff. Gruber says citizens of the Commonwealth want lawmakers to stand up for education.
She goes on to say that state funding per pupil for public schools is well below the 2009 level. Gruber says as a result, class sizes will be larger and teachers will have inadequate books, instructional tools, and support staff.