COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
April 30, 2010
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
On April 21, 2010, the 2010 Session of the General Assembly reconvened to consider changes proposed by Governor McDonnell to the 2010-2012 biennial budget as adopted by the General Assembly (reference Superintendent’s Memorandum No. 057-10 , dated March 18, 2010). A summary of actions taken by the General Assembly in response to Governor McDonnell’s proposed amendments to the 2010-2012 biennial budget is provided below as well as clarification on two issues included in the 2010-2012 budget adopted by the 2010 General Assembly.
Please note that the Governor did not propose any amendments or vetoes to the public education funding adopted by the General Assembly for fiscal year 2010. As a result, the state revenue projections and the Excel calculation tool provided as part of Superintendent’s Memorandum No. 057-10, dated March 18, 2010, remain the latest information on projected state payments for fiscal year 2010.
Two language amendments proposed by the Governor to the 2010-2012 biennial budget were adopted by the General Assembly at the Reconvened Session. Additional information regarding the language amendments to the VPSA Technology Equipment Notes program and to Virginia Retirement System employee contributions is provided below. No funding changes were made to the public education budget adopted by the General Assembly for the 2010-2012 biennial budget so the state revenue projections and the Excel calculation tool provided as part of Superintendent’s Memorandum No. 057-10 remain the latest information on projected state payments for the 2010-2012 biennial budget.
Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) Technology Equipment Notes:
The General Assembly approved the following language amendment proposed by the Governor to the VPSA technology notes program:
“c) For purposes of establishing or enhancing a computer-based instructional program supporting the Standards of Learning pursuant to paragraph g. 1) above, school divisions may use these grant funds to purchase handheld multifunctional computing devices that support a broad range of applications and that are controlled by operating systems providing full multimedia support and mobile Internet connectivity. School divisions that elect to use these grant funds to purchase such qualifying handheld devices must continue to meet the on-line testing requirements stated in paragraph g. 1) above."
Paragraph g. 1) referenced in the Governor’s adopted amendment authorizes the technology notes program for the 2010-2012 biennium and is provided below to clarify the aforementioned amendment (please note the required timelines for online administration of SOL tests):
“g. 1) An education technology grant program shall be conducted through the Virginia Public School Authority, through the issuance of equipment notes in an amount estimated at $57,610,000 in fiscal year 2011 and $57,792,000 in fiscal year 2012. Proceeds of the notes will be used to establish a computer-based instructional and testing system for the Standards of Learning (SOL) and to develop the capability for high speed Internet connectivity at high schools followed by middle schools followed by elementary schools. By fiscal year 2011, high schools within the division shall administer 100 percent of SOL tests online; by fiscal year 2012, middle and high schools shall administer 100 percent of SOL tests online; and by fiscal year 2013, elementary, middle, and high schools shall administer 100 percent of SOL tests online. School divisions shall use these funds first to develop and maintain the capability to support the administration of online SOL testing for all students with the exception of students with a documented need for a paper SOL test.”
Virginia Retirement System Employee Contribution:
The General Assembly also approved the Governor’s amendment that requires local school divisions to pay Virginia Retirement System (VRS) employee contributions for any employee who was a VRS member on or before June 30, 2010. This action reverses language included in the 2010-2012 biennial budget adopted by the 2010 General Assembly on March 14, 2010, that permitted local school divisions to pass along a portion of such costs to employees. No changes were made for employees hired on or after July 1, 2010. These employees fall under the provisions of HB 1189 Substitute, which permits a portion of the required employee contribution to be paid by the employer and/or employee.
Composite Index Hold Harmless Account:
The Department has received questions regarding funding for Academic Year Governor’s Schools that was included in the calculation of the Composite Index Hold Harmless account funded in the 2010-2012 biennial budget adopted by the 2010 General Assembly. Funding for Academic Year Governor’s Schools is paid to fiscal agent school divisions and shown on the fiscal agent’s state entitlement projections. For fiscal agent school divisions that were eligible to receive funding for the Composite Index Hold Harmless account, a portion of their total hold harmless payment includes funding that was generated from applying the same hold harmless methodology to each Academic Year Governor’s School.
The Department recommends that the portion of each fiscal agent’s Composite Index Hold Harmless payment derived from the funding methodology for Academic Year Governor’s Schools be passed on to the affected Governor’s School by the fiscal agent division. Attachment A to this memorandum provides the value of the projected Academic Year Governor's School state payment funded in the eligible fiscal agent’s Composite Index Hold Harmless account for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 based on the 2010-2012 biennial budget adopted by the 2010 General Assembly. These are the amounts the Department is recommending be passed on to the affected Governor’s School.
Temporary Flexibility for Staffing Requirements Not Applicable to Certain Career and Technical Education Courses:
The 2010-2012 biennial budget adopted by the 2010 General Assembly included new language providing temporary flexibility to school divisions on Standards of Quality staffing standards requirements. Included in this provision was language waiving the teacher to pupil ratio staffing requirement for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. However, school divisions should note that this waiver does not apply to Career and Technical Education courses where safety is an issue and the Board of Education’s CTE regulations have set the maximum class size at twenty. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has worked with the Office of Career and Technical Education to identify CTE classes impacted by federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Attachment B to this memorandum provides a list of CTE courses that have a maximum class size of twenty that must be maintained during the 2010-2012 biennium, as governed by OSHA requirements, and are not subject to the temporary staffing flexibility provided in the 2010-2012 biennial budget adopted by the 2010 General Assembly.
If you have any questions or need additional information concerning the 2010-2012 biennial budget, please contact Kent Dickey, assistant superintendent for finance, or the budget office at (804) 225-2025 or by e-mail.