Delegate: An ‘arduous’ path lies ahead in Richmond to lift funding cap for Rappahannock schools
For my entire career we have scrapped for every single dime from the state that goes to Rappahannock’s schools. After 15 years of capping funding for Rappahannock’s schools, Virginia is long overdue for a change. As a March 1 article in Rappahannock News pointed out, work to accomplish change was put to a halt on a near party line vote on my bill to fix a cap on school funding for Rappahannock, HB1443, in the Senate’s Finance and Appropriations Committee.
There’s no need for fixing outdated budget restraints to be a partisan issue, but 10 of that committee’s 16 members disagreed and I’m grateful to the committee’s Republicans and a lone Democrat, Sen. John Edwards of Roanoke, for trying to help Rappahannock County Public Schools.
Even though the bill to lift this funding cap for good did not pass, hope is not lost for this year. Because my colleagues in the House of Delegates passed HB1443 unanimously at every stage and the House’s Appropriations Committee agreed to amend its budget to include additional funding for schools here, there is still a path to fixing this.
This path is uphill and arduous, but it’s the path we’re now taking. The House and Senate create their budgets independently before meeting to negotiate and reconcile the differences of their budgets, this is a process that is currently ongoing. A small group of Delegates and Senators work to add and remove items from the budgets of both the House and Senate until an agreement is reached so it can be voted on and sent to the
Governor’s desk. As the funding for HB1443 is in the House’s budget, it can still be included in the final budget.
From the very moment that the Senate chose not to pass my bill and keep the low financial cap for Rappahannock, we communicated this path ahead with the school board and Superintendent Dr. Shannon Grimsley and began working on it. While there is always next year, this is a decade overdue and I will keep up my efforts until the path ahead is washed out. However, even if the path ahead becomes washed out we will keep fighting for Rappahannock County schools.
While there is always next year, this is a decade overdue and I will keep up my efforts until the path ahead is washed out.