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Department of Education to Change Policies Over Principals and School Nurses

Virginia Department of Education

Strapped for cash, some public schools in Virginia are operating without a principal or a nurse, but the state’s board of education met today to discuss requiring those jobs be filled.

Since 2008, Virginia’s schools have been hit hard by a lack of resources. Jim Livingston, president of the Virginia Education Association, says for some teachers it’s meant working double duty.

“We have secretaries and classroom teachers, quite frankly, who are being placed in a position of having to be medical providers, for which they receive no training.”

The current standards don’t require all schools to have a nurse, or even a full-time principle. Livingston says that’s because the Board knew school districts couldn’t necessarily afford them.

But as Virginia’s economy has strengthened Livingston says it looks like the Board is ready to reconsider the standards...

“Based not on what they believe they can afford, but rather based on what they believe students need.”

The changes would require schools to have more nurses, counselors, and social workers.

Once the board votes, Virginia’s lawmakers -- who control education funding -- will have final say on any new requirements for the state’s public schools.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.
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