Feb 04

VASSP Needs Your Assistance

If you have been following the progress of legislation in the General Assembly, you cannot help but wonder how some of our elected officials developed the notion that public school officials need their assistance to solve our education issues. This notion is now manifested in two bills promoted by Governor McDonnell that are currently being acted upon very soon.

The A – F Report Card bill  is likely to become law. There is an amendment  to this piece of legislation being considered which could delay the  intent.  It would be amended to delay  the origional bill until “growth measures ” are instituted in 2015. This is still not a good bill and growth measures are undefined.

Currently, SB 1324 is the foucs of interest for VASSP and should be for school administrarors. This bill creates the Oportunity Educational Institution which is to be guided/administered by a board specified by the legislative piece. Any school which has been denied accreditation for the previous two years shall be transferred to the “instiution” and remain there for five (5) years or until the school achieves full accreditation.  Student attendance guidelines, funding and staff requirements will be develpoed as required in this bill.

If this strikes you as you as an idea that is politically grounded, educationally questionable and financially potentially disasterous, then you are not alone.

VASSP has put together several talking points for this bill.  It would be helpful if you would contact your senators about this bill, particularly if Kenneth Alexandar or Ryan McDougle represent you. The VASSP talking points are listed below. Please share these with your fellow administrators to provide them with potential discussion items with their legislators.

 Talking points: SB 1324 Opportunity Educational Institute     

The bill and constitutional amendment transfer control over schools identified as failing to a state school board, with no required educational or other experience in managing schools and no connection to the local community.   

Local citizens who have the most at stake will lose access if they are forced to deal with a state school board, rather than their locally elected (large majority) or locally appointed school boards.  

 No information has been given on how this state board would be able to solve the problems facing these troubled schools, and there are no requirements for accountability either educationally or financially.  

 There are a host of questions about the relationship of the statewide division, the school board and the local government in areas such as transportation, use of facilities and funding.       

School divisions and local governments are mandated to remit SOQ, federal and local aspirational moneys to Richmond for the education of the students in identified schools and also to provide building, site and renovations as needed.

There is no provision for local representation on this state board.