Advocacy Opportunity Details
The Virginia House and Senate released their proposals for the state budget this weekend and RPS is at risk of losing another $12.5 million from our budget for next year. While the Senate released a budget that would provide an additional $2 million for us above what we expected, the House has slashed critical funding streams like the At-Risk Add-On and their budget would reduce our state education funding by $12.5 million from what Governor Northam proposed in December (and what the RPS current budget is based on). Their two budgets now go into a conference committee where they will negotiate a final budget that could land somewhere in between those amounts.
RPS is already dealing with a significant dropoff in state funding this year due to the change in the Local Composite Index. The LCI is the formula that dictates how much the state contributes vs. how much a locality contributes to the cost of running a school division. A major piece of the funding formula is the value of real property in a locality and this value went up significantly in Richmond over the last few years. Unfortunately, this number includes all non-taxable property (like the Capitol and VCU) so even though it looks like Richmond can afford to contribute more, our local tax base does not correspondingly increase with the value of property. As a result of looking like we can afford more, Richmond was already losing about $7 million in state education funding this year.
With the compound effects of the LCI change and the budget policy decisions the House and Senate made, Richmond is now at risk of working with $20 million in less state funding than we expected. Now, we need your advocacy now more than ever to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Please take some time to write, as soon as possible, to the legislators below and advocate for fully funding all of the Senate’s proposals and ensuring that the At-Risk Add-On is fully maintained. Below are some points you can include in your comments and information on who to contact.
Dear XXX, please support the Senate’s education budget proposals. The House budget would significantly cut funding for Richmond Public Schools, likely forcing more layoffs and cuts to our division that will further harm the students and staff of our capitol city.
The House budget reduces funding for Richmond by almost $12.5 million and cuts over $200 million in total state funding from the critical At-Risk Add-On program that supports high-poverty school divisions like Richmond
This in addition to $7 million less in funding we are receiving in FY23 due to Richmond’s changing LCI (local composite index)
The Senate budget, while it doesn’t do anything to hold us and other localities harmless from the LCI changes, maintains all of Governor Northam’s critical education investments and invests in more support staff to finally start addressing the support staff cap that has been in place for more than a decade. Richmond would receive about $2 million for support staff in this proposal. The sum increase from the Senate is still far less than the increases in per pupil funding going to most other school divisions but does not put RPS into an ever greater deficit.
It is critical that the Senate education budget is maintained and built upon to ensure that RPS and other high-poverty school divisions can continue to invest in our students and staff. Please support the Senate’s budget proposal.
Who to Contact
The key legislators involved in making these decisions are senior members of the House and Senate’s budget committees. Direct your emails, phone calls, and social media posts to these members of the General Assembly: