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Virginia governor proposes $1.2 billion investment in K-12 education

Governor Northam said the budget includes the single-largest increase for at-risk schools in Virginia history.

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam announced on Monday that his proposed budget will have the largest investment in K through 12 education ever in Virginia history, a whopping $1.2 billion.

He said the budget includes the single-largest increase for at-risk schools in Virginia history, raises teacher salaries 3 percent, funds more school counselors and new staff supports for English language learners, and it makes significant new flexible funds available for local divisions.

RELATED: Governor Northam proposes tuition-free community college plan

“Students deserve quality public schools, no matter where they live,” said Governor Northam. “This budget provides extra funding to help close the achievement gap in high-need schools, especially in urban and rural Virginia. Every child should have access to a world-class education, and this budget advances that commitment.”

RELATED: Governor Northam proposes $94 million for early childhood education

Northam released these budget highlights:

  • Flexible Supports for Educationally At-Risk Students: $140.4 million to increase the “At-Risk Add-On” for educationally at-risk students. This is the largest single increase to this funding source in Virginia’s history.
  • Teacher Raise: $145.1 million for a 3 percent salary increase in the second year, for funded Standards of Quality instructional and support positions;
  • Flexible Per-Pupil Allocation: $125 million in new flexible funds for local divisions;
  • Additional School Counselors: $99.3 million to increase the number of counselors at every grade level;
  • Instructional Support for English Language Learners: $27.6 million to increase the number of instructional positions;
  • School Meals: $10.6 million to help cover the cost of school breakfast and lunch for families who qualify for reduced meal pricing; and,
  • Rebenchmarking and Routine Updates: $808.5 million for formula-driven enrollment and program updates.

Northam has been releasing portions of his proposed budget to the public. Last week, he announced $94.8 million to expand access to and support the quality of early care and learning programs for at-risk three- and four-year-olds. He also said he proposed $145 million of the budget to make tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields.

Governor Northam will present his full budget to the Joint Money Committees on Tuesday, December 17. The 2020 General Assembly will debate and vote on the budget after the session begins on January 8.