© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Education advocates: public funds should be for public schools

The ongoing debate over the budget has yet to be resolved. The latest disagreement is about public funds for private schools.

Public funds are for public schools. That's the message from supporters of Virginia schools who say the governor should not be appropriating money from the lab school fund to private institutions.

James Fedderman at the Virginia Education Association says this is about election year politics.

"Given Youngkin's campaign promises around expanding school choice and his presidential ambitions, it's obvious why his administration would aggressively push to expand lab schools even to non-qualifying institutions for the grant money," Fedderman explains. "And that's because they want to point to lots of new startup lab schools in the state during the state election time."

Laura Goren at the Commonwealth Institute says public funds should not go to private schools, including private historically Black colleges and universities.

"It's important in our view that we prioritize public institutions," Goren says. "And if we look at our public HBCUs, they are doing extremely important work in terms of college access. And we do think that public dollars should be going first to those public institutions."

In a written statement, Education Secretary Aimee Guidera says the expansion of eligibility was made "to ensure that every Virginia student had access to innovative and high-quality education that prepares them for success in life."

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

Updated: May 3, 2023 at 5:02 PM EDT
*Editor's note: The Virginia Education Association is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.
Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.