Friday, January 21, 2011

Bill requires 65 percent spending on classroom instruction

UPDATE 11:30: The bill passed the House 48-46. It is in the hands of the Senate to amend it or dump it. Speculation is the Senate will do just that.

UPDATED: Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) would vote for HB1416 with only Part A and no 65% floor (actually what would the point be of 65% with only Part A). This is in similar agreement as Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-Salem) – see Habeeb’s comment at the end.

On an 11-9 vote HB1416 was reported from the Committee on Education with Delegate Onzlee Ware and Delegate Lingamfelter not voting. Thursday afternoon after rigorous house debate the bill moved to the third reading. Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi of Richmond patroned the bill.

In Part A of HB 1416 it would require local school boards to provide to the Board of Education the percentage of its operating budget allocated to instructional classroom spending each fiscal year. The BOE would define instructional spending.

Delegate Adam Ebbin of Alexandria spoke on the bill saying he did not think it was fair to rural area school systems. It does not take into account the cost of buses, school nurses, school counselors and special needs.

In defense Loupassi repeated that the bill “set a standard” and that there was no penalty. It does however require in Part B of the bill that a school system that falls below 65% present a plan for improvement. If the school system fails to submit a plan the BOE will direct an audit by the Auditor of Public Accounts. The auditor will then make recommendations to the BOE on how the school system can increase their instructional spending.

Loupassi said he had heard from teachers who told him “the bill would get them fired.” He recounted that his response to the teachers that he was “trying to get more money in the classroom.” Loupassi also heard from school administrators opposing the bill recounting that “they wanted greater flexibility.” Loupassi was perplexed wondering why anyone would not want to know the percentage of dollars spent on the classroom versus administration.

New Delegate Greg Habeeb of Salem said he would vote against the bill unless the Senate struck Part B. .


  • A. Each local school board shall report annually to the Board of Education the percentage of its operating budget allocated to instructional spending for each fiscal year. The Board of Education shall promulgate regulations to define instructional spending.
  • B. Any school board that, according to its annual report, spent less than 65 percent of its operating budget on instructional spending for the reported fiscal year shall present a plan to the Board to increase such expenditures by 0.5 percent in the following fiscal year. Any school board failing to submit such a plan shall be audited by the Auditor of Public Accounts pursuant to § 15.2-2511, at the request of the Board. The Auditor of Public Accounts shall, upon completing such audit, submit a report to the Board with such recommendations as the Auditor deems appropriate concerning how each school board failing to meet the 65 percent requirement may increase their instructional spending. The Board shall develop a plan, based upon such audit and recommendations, if any, to assist such school boards in increasing instructional spending.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, Politics, Roanoke City Public Schools, State Politics

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (1)


January 20th, 2011 at 8:35 PM    

This “scheme” reminds me of something I heard back in the day when I was just a young, novice political teacher. Our county supervisor suggested that he was all in favor of schools. However, in his opinion, we didn’t “need no new buildings with fancy facades (“fakades”). “And them teachers is spoiled. They don’t need nothin’ more in money.” (My county was ranked 130/132 in Virginia for teacher salary at the time).
In fact, he intoned and droned, that when he was a kid, all his teachers needed was [sic] four walls and a door to contain the 35 kids. Of course, he failed to mention that those 35 kids were all white kids and were not from poverty or broken homes.

Despite that, I never figured out how he managed to turn out so well* with no windows to look out.

We truly live in dark, dark days for public school education. There will be a reckoning.

* He was nuts!

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