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2019 Legislative Program, Priorities
1. Education Funding
Request the gradual restoration of the Prevailing Cost Methodology for funding of support positions that was used prior to FY 2009-2010. This would replace the “cap” on funding for support positions used since FY 2009-2010.
Prior to FY 2009-2010, K-12 school divisions in Virginia were funded for support positions using a formula that was based on prevailing rates (calculated by looking at the number of support positions and the salary for each in all school divisions). This was a more accurate representation of current educational practices in Virginia school divisions.
Despite the loss of funding for these critical positions, school divisions could not reduce support personnel to the level funded by the “cap.”
The Virginia Board of Education published proposed recommendations to the Standards of Quality at their meeting on September 22, 2016. They noted that throughout the public hearings, the need for additional fiscal resources was a predominant theme. Many individuals and organizations, including the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League, have noted that education funding in Virginia after the recession has not returned to 2008 levels. As a result, their recommendation states, “Because support services positions are essential to the effective operation of schools, and provide vital support to instructional staff, the General Assembly should return to its prior practice of funding support services to school divisions based upon actual school division practices.”
The funding for support positions resulted in a loss for Chesapeake of over $9 million per year.
Other recommendations from the State Board also called for increased staffing ratios for principals, assistant principals, and guidance counselors.
Continue to increase lottery funds for use as operating expenses
The Virginia Lottery has been in operation since the late 1980s; however, lottery proceeds were not used strictly for K-12 education until 1999. Until 2000, lottery proceeds were transferred to the state’s general fund and their use was determined by the General Assembly. Beginning in 2001, an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia stated that lottery funds were to be used solely for educational purposes. The following bullets provide a history of lottery funds distribution.
- From 1999 to 2004, an increasing portion of lottery proceeds (History of Lottery) was used for Basic Education funding in the place of State General Fund Revenues while the portion paid directly to school divisions for use as either capital or operating support remained fairly level at 40% of the proceeds. Fifty percent of these direct payments were required to be used for capital expenditures.
- In FY2004-FY2005, lottery proceeds began to also be used for incentive and categorical funding for K-12.
- Beginning in FY2008-FY2009:
- All Lottery Funds were provided as support for K-12 Education at the state level.
- Direct payments to school divisions were eliminated.
- All Lottery Funds were channeled into operating support for the state’s portion of K-12 funding.
- In FY2016-FY2017:
- A portion of Lottery Funds were restored to K-12 support.
- In FY2017-FY2018, a larger portion of Lottery Funds were distributed to K-12 support (approximately 29%). This still falls below the 40% school divisions received prior to FY2008-FY2009.
Continue to support safety initiatives by providing funding for necessary staffing and infrastructure
In 2013 after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School Governor Robert F. McDonnell issued Executive Order 56, which created a task force to conduct an extensive review of school safety research and policy, and to provide recommendations and proposals to enhance school safety and campus security.
The Executive Order by the Governor mandated a number of actions, including requiring the Task Force to evaluate school safety audits, identify best practices for school safety, provide recommendations for enhancing K-12 school safety and increasing the effectiveness of the Virginia Center for School Safety, explore expansion and usage of SRO programs, and recommend safety improvements at college and university campuses.
In March 2018, following the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Chesapeake Public Schools created a School Safety Task Force team to evaluate school safety protocols and practices, and determine additional enhancements to the security and safety measures that should be implemented throughout the school division to ensure school safety.
Chesapeake Pubic Schools supports state financial support and legislative changes that will assist in meeting its safety needs.
2. Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress – Encroachment Protection Funding
The City requests continuation of state funding of $2.5 million per year to be matched dollar for dollar by the City. The City of Chesapeake remains very appreciative for the Commonwealth’s funding partnership for the purchase of real property to remove or prevent incompatible use in proximity to Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress.
In 2014, the City established the Fentress Encroachment Protection Acquisition Program (FEPAP). Leveraging over $2.5 million of state funds with a dollar for dollar local match, the City has acquired 270 (soon to be 300) acres of developable land for a cost of approximately $5.5 million. The program continues to be successful, especially considering the strong development pressure in this area of the City that is attributable to the desirable school district and overall high-quality of life afforded to area residents. A nimble and well-funded FEPAP program is critical to acquiring property interests in a timely manner and providing property owners a viable alternative to developing their land. This would not be possible without assistance from the Commonwealth. Over the last few years, the City has developed an excellent working relationship with the Military Relations Liaison for the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs who administers this program. The City continues to pursue other properties in the vicinity of NALF Fentress to prevent incompatible development and ensure mission readiness of NALF Fentress and is currently soliciting additional interested landowners. The continued support of the Commonwealth is critical to ensure program success.
3. Jail Expansion – State Reimbursement
The City Jail expansion, which began in 2016, is substantially complete and inmates will soon be transferred to the new facility. In the coming months, the City will be submitting its reimbursement request to the Board of Corrections and State Treasurer in order to receive the 25% reimbursement of eligible project costs from the Commonwealth. The total project cost was approximately $25 million while the approved Commonwealth share currently included in Treasury Item 279 of the biennial state budget is $6,860,886.The project includes a 192 bed minimum security dormitory building housing minimum custody, work release and external work force detainee inmates who must be segregated from the main jail population, as they are working out in the community. It will increase the jail’s rated capacity from 555 to 747.
The City appreciates the support of the legislature and the past two governors, and would like to ensure that the state reimbursement funding remains in the state budget and doesn’t get removed for any reason this legislative session.
4. Restore Funding to Community Service Boards
Community Service Boards statewide are slated to receive $11 million less in FY2019 and $25 million less in state general funds in FY2020. This equates to a $166,000 reduction in state funding for the City’s CSB, Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Health Care, in FY2019 and a $332,000 reduction in FY2020. Federal and state funds from Medicaid expansion, which begins on January 1, 2019, are expected to help offset these state general fund reductions. However, there are many unknowns on the number of people that potentially may gain access to Medicaid through expansion and how many of those individuals will utilize CIBHC for services. The City requests that the state restore the funding to CSBs for FY2019, and re-evaluate assumptions leading to additional cuts in FY2020 and beyond to the extent that Medicaid expansion does not fully offset the reductions.
5. Diversion of the Communications Sales and Use Tax
The FY2019-FY2020 biennium budget included language that swept $2,000,000 each year of the biennium to the General Fund from revenues received from the Communications Sales and Use Tax. The City opposes diversion of this tax beyond the uses already specified in statute, and believes this sets a bad precedence for future diversion of a tax that by Code should be distributed to localities. The City requests removal of this language from the budget diverting these funds. City collections in FY2017-FY2018 were $10,874,229, and the additional diversion of the funding would reduce Chesapeake’s share of the collections by approximately $57,000.
6. Senate Bill 1023 Virginia Retirement System; Retired law-enforcement officers employed as school security officers.
Provision to allow a retired law-enforcement officer to continue to receive his service retirement allowance during a subsequent period of employment by a local school division as a school security officer.
Posted : Feb. 14, 2019