Noting a remarkable turnaround since he spoke to them last year, Governor McAuliffe has told the General Assembly’s money committees that the Commonwealth's financial situation is great-and how he would like to move forward. During his remarks to lawmakers Thursday, he emphasized his focus on economic development and acquiring military contracts, but much of his speech was devoted to investing in education.
While he touts progress made in refocusing transportation priorities, ending the fiscal year in the black, and an uptick in the employment and housing sectors, he says education continues to suffer. McAuliffe says the problem is the state eliminated five-thousand K-12 positions since 2009, and he plans to include significant funding to modernize the education system when he unveils the state budget in December.
“As you know, we have more students enrolled; we have a lot of second-language learning students coming in so the teaching is more challenging. And I think we need look at that. And it’s not ‘throwing money’ at education; as I tried to make a point here – smart, targeted, innovative, investments in education. And we’re going to look for best practices.”
House Majority Leader and retired teacher Kirk Cox says that sounds good.
“The key to K-12 is – can you get it in the classroom directly? And I think that’s going to be a challenge. But if we can get the money in the classroom, I think there will be a lot of support there.”
McAuliffe says he will host eight education roundtable discussions across the state this fall to gather input from parents, students, and educators.