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School budget changes detailed
Date published: 1/20/2011
Instead, he has submitted an amendment to give more than $80 million a year in additional funding to schools. That way, he said, the local school divisions can decide whether to use it for teacher retention, bonuses or textbooks.
Houck, who is a former teacher and school administrator, said that in recent years the state has increasingly played "a shell game" with education funding by moving money generated by tax revenues out of education programs and replacing it with lottery money.
Lottery money, he said, was intended to supplement state funding, not replace it.
At first that "shell game" was played with incentive programs and other things that could be considered add-ons to core education funding.
The governor's budget proposal, however, applies it to Standards of Quality programs--the core, basic funding for public education.
His amendment would restore $83 million in the first year and $87 million in the second year of the budget for schools.
The education groups, Houck said, "have correctly pointed out that there is nothing but cuts for public schools when there has been additional spending in a lot of other areas."
Other Democrats complained yesterday that a separate McDonnell proposal--using a portion of the existing sales tax generated in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to fund road projects in those regions --would take money away from education.
"Our localities are going to be hamstrung to fund, in particular K-12 education, and the rest of their needs," said Del. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond.
"We are passing the buck to these localities and forcing them to raise taxes because some of us here are not willing to seriously consider whether we need to do that at the state level."
Chelyen Davis: 804/343-2245