Date: Jun 5, 2014 1:37:28 PM
Subject: Act Now to Keep Our Schools Open This Fall!
Keep Our Schools Open
Work to Pass a Budget
I try to refrain from being an alarmist in my communications with you, but it’s clearly time to sound the alarm regarding Virginia’s lack of a budget. On May 28th, Virginia Secretary of Finance Ric Brown, Secretary of Education Anne Holton, and other members of the Governor’s staff told VEA President Meg Gruber and invited VEA staff members that the state anticipates a revenue shortfall that could exceed $300 million this fiscal year. This drop in revenue may result in painful budget cuts that may affect every school division. We are in a budget crisis.
The severity of these reductions can be mitigated, to some extent, with money from the state’s “Rainy Day” fund. But, without the General Assembly passing a state budget before July 1, these rainy day dollars will remain locked up in the fund. That will mean even more state budget cuts than already required.
You should assume that the state dollars your locality needs for public education could end up being less than the amounts received in FY 2014. How much less will depend on whether or not the General Assembly unlocks the Rainy Day Fund.
Many localities have fulfilled their obligations and adopted budgets for the next fiscal year. Because of the news of this revenue slowdown, projections of state revenues are likely to be overestimated, requiring budgetary adjustments. Depending on a number of factors, the state shortfall may force local governments to consider raising local taxes, which could require reopening the budget process and re-advertising tax rates.
Expanding Medicaid would provide $225 million in the biennium to help close the budget gap and reduce cuts. The federal dollars which can be used for indigent and inmate health care could free up General Fund dollars to reduce the cuts to PreK-12 funding.
We have contacted House members over the past few days. Now is the time to follow up by communicating with your Senator, urging timely completion of the best budget for Virginia’s public schools.
Please click on “Take Action” in the upper right hand corner to send a message to your Senator now.