Rappahannock News

Delegate: An ‘arduous’ path lies ahead in Richmond to lift funding cap for Rappahanno­ck schools

- By Del. Michael Webert The writer represents the Virginia House of Delegates 18th District, which includes all of Rappahanno­ck County.

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There’s no need for fixing outdated budget restraints to be a partisan issue, but 10 of that committee’s 16 members disagreed and I’m grateful to the committee’s Republican­s and a lone Democrat,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.

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