Superintendent's Memo #101-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 8, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Governor McDonnell’s Amendments to the 2010-2012 Biennial Budget Considered at the Reconvened (Veto) Session

On April 6, 2011, the 2011 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. 068-11 , dated March 4, 2011).  A summary of actions taken by the General Assembly in response to Governor McDonnell’s proposed amendments to the 2010-2012 biennial budget, as well as a reminder on the temporary flexibility for certain career and technical education staffing requirements that was included in the 2010-2012 budget adopted by the 2010 General Assembly is provided below. 

The Governor proposed two language amendments to the 2010-2012 biennial budget related to public education for consideration at the Reconvened Session.  These amendments are discussed in further detail below.  The Governor proposed no funding changes to public education in the 2010-2012 biennial budget adopted by the 2011 General Assembly.  Consequently, the state funding projections and the Excel calculation tool provided as part of Superintendent’s Memorandum No. 068-11 remain the latest information on projected state payments for the 2010-2012 biennial budget.

Remove Language Changing State Funding for Virtual School Programs

The General Assembly approved the Governor’s amendment that removes language changing state funding for virtual school programs.  Specifically, the removed language would have (1) capped funding at 350 students for any full-time virtual school program that operated in fiscal year 2011 and enrolled out-of-division students that counted for state funding purposes as students residing in the school division operating the program and (2) based SOQ per pupil funding for any full-time program that enrolls out-of-division students on the composite index of the enrolling student’s locality of residence, beginning in fiscal year 2012.  By not including this language in the final amended 2010-2012 budget, SOQ per pupil funding for virtual school programs will be based on the composite index of the division operating the program, regardless of the enrolling student’s locality of residence.  In addition, student enrollment will not be capped for any full-time virtual school program operating in fiscal year 2011.

Permit Localities and School Boards to Require Employees to Pay VRS Retirement Contributions   

The General Assembly rejected the Governor’s amendment that would have permitted local governments and school boards to require employees hired prior to July 1, 2010, to pay a portion of the employee contribution for VRS retirement, up to five percent, that has previously been paid entirely by the local employer. 

Based on this action, language is removed that would have provided the authority for local governments and school boards to require employees who were members of the Virginia Retirement System prior to July 1, 2010, to pay a portion of the employee contribution for retirement, up to five percent. 

Reminder on Temporary Flexibility for Staffing Requirements Not Applicable to Certain Career and Technical Education Courses

The following reminder is in response to questions from school divisions regarding the appropriation act language adopted by the 2010 General Assembly providing temporary flexibility to school divisions during the 2010-2012 biennium on Standards of Quality staffing standards requirements.  Included in this provision is 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.  Additional information on flexibility for CTE staffing requirements and CTE courses that have a maximum class size of twenty will be provided in a future superintendent’s memorandum.

If you have any questions or need additional information concerning the 2010-2012 biennial budget, please contact Kent Dickey, deputy superintendent for finance and operations, or the budget office at (804) 225-2025 or by e-mail.