FYI: STATE BUDGET AMENDMENT AFFECTING FUNDING OF SVGS

Having met with the Parent Support Advisory Council on Feb. 1 and based on their counsel, I am providing the information related to a pending budget amendment affecting funding for SVGS and most other Governor’s Schools. This is an issue of equity for public education funding in our area and for all of Virginia’s Academic Year Governor’s School like SVGS.

BOTTOM LINE: The budget amendment, HB 30 Item 139 #13h, provides on average a nearly 50% increase in funds for full day programs, but only an 8-17% increase for shared time programs (according to calculations drafted by those supporting the amendment). This is inequitable. Funds to support full day programs should not be provided at the expense of shared time Governor’s Schools.

The Governor’s proposed budget addresses the state’s responsibility to increase its support for AYGS programs such that the provided support matches what is provided to other public schools.  Current state funding for all 19 0f Virginia AYGS supports just over 25 percent of the operational costs of the programs overall, while state support for public schools generally is significantly higher at over 40 percent.  The state funding for all AYGS programs  should increase more than the 8-17% for shared time programs proposed by 139#13h.

I ask for your voice and advocacy with our state legislators to support SVGS, other Virginia Governor School programs and public education in this area.  Please review the information below and feel free to forward to other alumni, prospective parents, community members or others as you see fit.  SVGS ALUMS we need your help!

Any action taken should occur within in the next two weeks so legislators may consider that in their budget negotations. However, I encourage you to communicate with your legislators at anytime to express your concerns or commendations. Please see below for more information on the situation, issue and what you can do.

ACTION

If you are in support of the originally proposed funding package, please let our local legislators know and ask for them to SUPPORT the proposed Decision Package in the Governor’s Budget and to DEFEAT the amendment – HB 30 Item 139 #13h.

1 Click the email addresses below for your Delegates and Senator.
2 Put “Defeat HB 30 Item 139 #13h” in the subject line, write a brief message, and sign with your full home address. See example below.
3 Encourage other parents, relatives, alumni, and friends to do the same.

POINTERS FOR CORRESPONDENCE AND EXAMPLE MESSAGE:

  • Include specific steps for action (i.e. first paragraph) and a personalized message or experience (i.e. second paragraph). Legislators are not typically influenced by form letters but look for personal statements to influence their decisions.
  • Think about how the opportunity to attend Governor’s School has influenced your or your student’s education, success after SVGS, or current career.
  • Highlight specific experiences —do not be vague. Saying “classes are rigorous and more diverse than in my home school” is not as persuasive as, “Students are able to participate in biotechnology labs and do original research where they not only learn to form hypotheses and design experiments, but also formulate ways to communicate our findings in meaningful ways”.

Dear Delegate Name,
As a parent and businessperson in your district, I urge your defeat of amendment HB 30 Item 139 #13h and support for the Decision Package for Funding Academic Year Governor’s Schools proposed in the Governor’s Budget. This amendment will significantly decrease the amount of funding proposed for SVGS and many other Governor’s Schools, and defeats the spirit of equitable funding across the state for all Governor’s Schools that the original Decision Package worked so hard to provide.

The Shendnadodah Valley Governor’s School offers invaluable opportunities to students in our area. For instance, when my child joined the Biotechnology class at the Governor’s School, she was amazed at the opportunities available to her. She was able to create a prototype battery using the electricity generated from microorganisms, to design a bioreactor to convert agricultural waste products into an eco-friendly alternative fuel source. The positive experiences my daughter experienced also extended far beyond the content of a specific course. She became a more independent learner, became skilled in interacting with a variety of professionals through experiences associated with the junior year internship program, and developed proficiency in experimental design, data analysis, and communication of project results through the independent research projects she completed each year at the Governor’s School.

SVGS is an important part of public education in our district, and produces leaders in our community and around the country for generations to come. Without a funded and vibrant SVGS, Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro will lose students, parents, businesses, and ultimately tax dollars, as people chose to live elsewhere in order for their children to have an excellent education. SVGS has provided classes that are rigorous, diverse, and have enabled my student to perform at a much higher standard within our public education system.

Please support legislation that will support the original funding package which provides equitable funding for all AYGS, and defeat amendment HB 30 Item 139 #13h.

Sincerely,
Your Name
Your Address

AREA STATE LEGISLATORS

Landes, Steve (House Education Chairman)
DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov

Bell, Dickie (House Education Committee)
DelDBell@house.virginia.gov

Cline, Ben
DelBCline@house.virginia.gov

Hanger, Emmett (Senate Finance Chairman)

district24@senate.virginia.gov

HOUSE ELEMENTARY & SEDONCARY EDUCATION HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

DelJMassie@house.virginia.gov
DelKCox@house.virginia.gov
DelTGreason@house.virginia.gov
DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov
DelDMcQuinn@house.virginia.gov
DelJLindsey@house.virginia.gov

HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE

DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov; DelSLingamfelter@house.virginia.gov; DelMCole@house.virginia.gov; DelJMassie@house.virginia.gov; DelDBell@house.virginia.gov; DelJLeMunyon@house.virginia.gov; DelRRobinson@house.virginia.gov; DelJYost@house.virginia.gov; DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov; DelMDudenhefer@house.virginia.gov; DelGDavis@house.virginia.gov; DelJLeftwich@house.virginia.gov; DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov; DelJMcClellan@house.virginia.gov; DelRTyler@house.virginia.gov; DelDBulova@house.virginia.gov; DelDBulova@house.virginia.gov; DelDHester@house.virginia.gov; DelJLindsey@house.virginia.gov; DelLBagby@house.virginia.gov

Summary of Requests

-Voice opposition to House Budget Amendment 139#13h
-Voice support for funding of Governor’s School programs as proposed by the Virginia Department of Education in this Decision Package, as well as Secretary Holton, and Governor McAuliffe in the budget released in December 2015.

Remember, we are honorably representing SVGS, Academic Year Governor’s Schools (AYGS) and public education in general.  For more specific information, please see below.

 

SITUATION – Governor’s Proposed Budget

In December, a $3.6 million Decision Package (funding increase) was proposed for Academic Year Governor’s Schools (AYGS) by Gov. McAuliffe.

Current state funding for all 19 0f Virginia AYGS supports just over 25 percent of the operational costs of the programs overall, while state support for public schools generally is significantly higher at over 40 percent.  This was a large part of the rationale to improve funding for all AYGS.

Virginia Governor’s Schools  follow many different models such part-day, full -day, and distance learning, each tailored to the needs of the regions they serve. The Decision Package outlined a new funding model for AYGS, allotted funding based on number of students to account for the instructional needs and size of each program, and was supported by all 19 AYGS directors.

This package represents three years of work on behalf of the state’s governor’s school directors with Virginia Department of Education and state legislators, is in-line with sound educational funding practice used in other state programs, and is designed to treat all Governor’s School programs equitably.

 

ISSUE

An amendment ( HB 30 Item 139 ‪#‎13h) was proposed by Del. Greason which would reallocate most of the proposed funding to the four full-day Governor’s School programs, and divide the remaining dollars amongst the other 15 Governor’s Schools.

This amendment does not address the underfunding of all AYGS programs documented in the study completed by the office of the Secretary of Education in October 2014.  The Secretary’s Study documented that the state funding for all AYGS programs is disproportionally lower compared to state support for public schools.
“Current state funding for AYGS support is just over 25 percent of the operational costs of the programs overall, while state support for public schools generally is significantly higher at over 40 percent.” – page 13 of the Secretary’s Study

BOTTOM LINE: The budget amendment provides on average a nearly 50% increase in funds for full day programs, but only an 8-17% increase for shared time programs (according to calculations drafted by those supporting the amendment). This is inequitable. Funds to support full day programs should not be provided at the expense of shared time Governor’s Schools.

To address the state’s responsibility to increase its support for AYGS programs such that the provided support matches what is provided to other public schools, the state funding for all AYGS programs  should increase more than the 8-17% for shared time programs proposed by 139#13h.

Budget amendment 139#13h states “The state share of the incremental per pupil funding for full day Academic Year Governor’s Schools shall include an additional amount equal to 30 percent of the base per pupil amount and then adjusted by each participating locality’s composite index of local ability-to-pay. Any remaining funding shall be distributed to all Academic Year Governor’s Schools on a per pupil basis adjusted for the composite index of local ability-to-pay.

This language indicates that all full day Governor’s Schools would receive a 30% add on with no legitimate justification for this 30% add on  provided.  There is no documentation in the Secretary’s Study for a 30% increase exclusively for full day programs. Budget amendment 139#13h is in conflict with the efforts of the VDOE, Secretary Holton, and Governor McAuliffe to base funding for all AYGS programs on widely accepted, sound practices

While we greatly respect Del. Greason and appreciate  his strong advocacy of AYGS and longstanding support of K-12 education, differential funding based on regional differences or program format, or on “funding remiaing”  as noted in the amendment is a dangerous precedent with potentially significant long term consequences for 15 of the 19 AYGS.

I will continue to work to promote SVGS with facts and data to our state legislators. However, hearing directly from parents, alumni, and students will be the most helpful for our legislators.

This is not just about funding for SVGS but for equitable funding for public education in our area and for all AYGS. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of SVGS and demonstrate that all AYGS are equally important to their community and need resources to equitably serve their students.

I encourage you to let area legislators know of your expectations for public education and how they might support those. Delegates Bell, Cline and Landes and Senator Hanger have chosen to serve us by representing the interests of this area and we respect their expertise. Remember, we are honorably representing SVGS, Academic Year Governor’s Schools (AYGS) and public education in general.

Please let me know if you have questions.

I hope this information has been helpful as we passionately work together to ensure the education all our children need and deserve.

Thanks as always for your concern and support of SVGS and public education.

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