Richmond, VA —Today, Senate Democrats released a thorough and comprehensive budget that, like Governor Northam’s historic introduced budget, is responsive to the urgent needs of Virginians. Because of Democratic leadership and sound fiscal stewardship, Virginia’s economy is thriving, allowing for long-overdue investments to lift Virginians up in every corner of the commonwealth. The Senate budget includes $2.7 billion in funding for Virginia’s public schools, hundreds of millions above Governor Northam’s originally introduced budget, delivering much-needed raises for teachers, and ensuring our schools have the ability to hire support staff like school counselors as we recover from this pandemic.
Senate Democrats stood firm and protected funding for desperately-needed 5% teacher pay raises each year and even included a one-time bonus for our educators, demonstrating Democrats’ recognition of the challenges our educators have faced and the growing shortage of teachers in Virginia.
The Senate budget also began to lift the cap on support staff in our schools, providing hundreds of millions in new funding for localities to allow for additional support staff like school counselors, nurses, and behavioral specialists. Because the pandemic has presented our students with unprecedented challenges, the Senate budget also includes critical funding for reading specialists to get students up to speed.
“While Virginia Republicans have made it clear through their proposed budget in the House that they wish to defund our public schools, Senate Democrats today reiterated their commitment to strengthening and investing in them,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “The Democratic Party is the party of education, plain and simple. We’re the ones that are putting legislation and financial support forward to protect our public schools and make sure that every Virginia student has the opportunity for a world-class education.”