Senate Democrats Urge Legislators to Support Education in Final Budget

RICHMOND- Negotiations for Virginia's FY2012 budget continued Thursday as the General Assembly's joint conference committee worked to find common ground on the House and Senate’s competing budget bills.
Although major details of the final budget bill are still uncertain, Senate Democrats are urging conferees to protect public education in the budgeting process.
The Senate budget restores $100.6 million in funding to K-12 education, while the House-budget cuts millions from the education budget.
This afternoon, Senate Democrats made an additional plea to legislators to support the Senate’s proposed budget allocations for education.
"It may sound cliché to say that the future of the Commonwealth will be determined by what we do with this year's budget, but it's the truth.  Without proper funding, our school divisions will again be forced to make drastic cuts that will ultimately result in our children being ill-equipped to compete in a global economy. I've always been proud to say Virginia has some of the best schools in the country. I also want to able to say that we've done everything within our power to support our school divisions," said Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico.
"After years of making harsh spending cuts, we now have enough money in our general fund to restore some much needed funding to education. Our state's economic future and our children's futures depend on our actions.  Today, I urge my colleagues to join in the efforts of educators to ensure that our children have equal access to quality public education," said Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston.
Senate Democrats also say the budget will also have an impact on the state's image.
"It's time for the General Assembly to decide what message we want to send the public regarding Virginia's public schools.  Do we want to continue to make national lists for promoting schools of excellence?  Or do we want educators in Mississippi to say 'thank God for Virginia'?" said Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax.

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