Gov. Northam wants to invest $1.2 billion in Virginia public education

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced his plan to invest $1.2 billion in K-12 education Monday morning.

Northam is proposing a three percent salary raise for teachers and more funding for schools that would support the hiring of counselors and ESL instructional support.

“Students deserve quality public schools, no matter where they live,” Governor Northam said during his announcement at Huguenot High School.

The Fall 2019 report revealed that forty percent of Virginia’s public students are economically disadvantaged, and 13 percent are ESL students.

ESL is the term used for describing students that are learning English as a second language. Northam has proposed allocating $27.6 million to ‘increase the number of instructional positions.’

Here’s the breakdown of his proposal:

  • $1.2 billion in total for K-12 education
  • $140 million for at-risk schools in high poverty areas
  • Another 3% teacher raise
  • Nearly $100 million for more school counselors
  • $27.6 million for more ESL teachers
  • $10.6 million for free/reduced lunch programs
  • $125 million in new “flexible funds”

Gov. Northam told our sister-station WRIC that the budget can afford to put the money towards education because the state is doing well economically.

“We want to make sure every student in Virginia has access to a world-class education system,” the governor said Monday.

Lyons Sanchezconcha is a Spanish teacher at Huguenot High School who says he knows the challenges students face in the classroom as a former ESL student.

“I wouldn’t be doing this interview in English if I didn’t have the teachers we have,” he told 8News. “When we have more teachers who look like them speak their language, can connect with them.”

Sanchezconcha went further as he explained his support for Northam’s budget proposal.

“When we prioritize the social-emotional needs of our students and can provide services in their native language, it enables them to succeed both inside and outside the classroom,” Sanchezconcha said. “I don’t know if you could see when the announcement was made I was just in the back kind of smiling and grinning because it’s exciting that the needs of students will be met.”

This proposal is part of Gov. Northam’s two-year budget. Northam will present his full budget on Dec. 17.

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