Superintendent’s Memo #065-15

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

March 20, 2015

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Senate Joint Resolution 328 – K-12 Spending Study

The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you that staff from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) may be contacting division superintendents and other division-level staff in the coming months to gather information related to this K-12 spending study. Senate Joint Resolution 328 (SJR 328) was passed by the General Assembly in 2013. SJR 328 directs JLARC to review the efficiency and effectiveness of K-12 spending, analyze how and to what extent Virginia funds K-12 education compared to other states, and identify opportunities to improve the quality of education students receive in consideration of the funds spent. Additionally, language in the 2014 Appropriation Act further directs JLARC to include virtual instruction as part of the review directed by SJR 328.  It is anticipated that JLARC will release its study in September 2015.

JLARC staff recently met with Department of Education staff to discuss this study and to gather background information on K-12 spending by school divisions. This spring, JLARC staff plan to survey school division administrators and conduct phone interviews and visits with selected divisions. JLARC staff will use these research activities to better understand how school divisions have adapted to declining per-student funding and changing student demographics in recent years. JLARC staff will also seek to better understand the key factors influencing school division spending, including their use of certain instructional and non-instructional practices.

Should JLARC contact your division regarding this study, I ask that you please cooperate with them by providing the time, assistance, and information requested. The JLARC staff contact for the study is Mr. Jamie Bitz, chief legislative analyst (804-371-4560; jbitz@jlarc.virginia.gov).  You may contact Mr. Bitz if you have questions or need information related to the study.

SRS/KCD/cle