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Schools divisions to receive more funding

The General Assembly is a 60-day session that commenced January 8 and is scheduled to adjourn March 7.

There has been a historic number of bills introduced by delegates and senators this session. More than 3,419 bills were introduced on various topics including early childhood education, casino implementation, gun safety, election reform, increasing the minimum wage, transportation, hemp regulations, decriminalizing marijuana, redistricting and clean energy initiatives.

The General Assembly reached the point of crossover Feb 17. The House of Delegates and Senate passed budget bill HB 20 and HB 30 on February 20, 2020, which is quite different from Gov. Ralph Northam’s budget.

The House proposed budget includes incentives to hold down the cost of college tuition, increase salaries for teachers, correction officers, state police and state-supported employees, addressing food deserts, K-12 education funding and additional school counselors.

As the chairperson of the education committee, I am pleased Virginia continues to focus on our educational priorities and Virginia remains one of the best states to educate a child.

Our school divisions will receive a proposed increase in funding for at-risk and an add-on to assist students from low-income families. Also, increasing the average student per pupil direct aid from $6,297 to $6,421 will help our rural school division due to the loss of student population.

A final budget has not been completed at this time. However, one will be compromised and passed by the last day of session that will go into effect July 1.

I have worked hard this session to address the shortage of correctional officers and introduced legislation that would benefit the forestry industry and changes with career technical education credits.

You may track legislation on the General Assembly website at www.virginiageneralassembly.gov or live stream our sessions.

Roslyn Tyler represents Lunenburg in the Virginia House of Delegates. Her email address is DelRTyler@house.virginia.gov.