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Virginia Schools Have A Funding Gap New Report Finds

It’s back to school time in Virginia, and students are headed back to classrooms across the commonwealth. But those schools are not being funded at the same levels.

The rich are getting a richer education. And the poor are falling behind. That’s according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics that shows Virginia is one of six states where the wealthiest school divisions receive more funding per student than the poorest school divisions.

“Part of the problem in Virginia is that we’re overly reliant on local dollars to support public education.”

That’s Chris Duncombe at the Commonwealth Institute.

“The state has shifted a lot of responsibility on funding public education to local governments, and not all local governments have the same property tax base to raise revenues and invest in education.”

High-poverty school divisions get 8.3 percent less funding than schools in the wealthiest part of the state. Jim Livingston at the Virginia Education Association says it’s time to fix the funding gap.

“The state must do more. It must step up and support every child in every school division, regardless of local ability to contribute.”

Advocates for increasing state funding to Virginia schools say now is the time to take action because the Trump tax cuts are about to provide the state budget with windfall profits. They say that some of that money could be invested in the classroom so that schools could at least return to pre-recession funding levels.

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The Virginia Education Association is a financial supporter of RADIO IQ.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.