Frederick County School Board’s 2017 Legislative Priorities

State Funding for K-12 Education

Actions taken to balance the state budget following the Great Recession of 2008 resulted in deep funding cuts for K-12 education. In many cases, funding cuts were achieved by weakening the Standards of Quality (SOQ). The funding cuts resulted in most school divisions reducing staff, increasing class sizes, eliminating programs and reducing spending on professional development and other items critical to meeting the challenge of preparing students to be successful in today’s workforce and society. Although additional state funding was provided in the 2016-18 biennium, there continues to be a need for additional revenues to be reinvested in public education.
  • Keep funding for public education whole as the state’s budget shortfall is addressed.
  • Review and update the SOQ funding formula to ensure it reflects the actual costs and needs of providing a quality education.
  • Assure SOQ funding provides as much flexibility as possible for local school divisions.
  • Provide targeted funding to help provide competitive compensation to attract and retain high-quality staff.
  • Restore state funding for support positions. Remove the SOQ Support Position Cap to more accurately reflect the current practice of local school divisions. Positions directly related to instruction in the classroom should be funded as they were prior to the initiation of the SOQ Support Position Cap.
  • Fully fund all mandates passed by the General Assembly. Partial funding or the absence of funding results in an additional burden on local school/government budgets.
  • Fully fund the biennial rebenchmarking of the state Direct Aid to public education.
  • Continue efforts to solidify the Virginia Retirement System funding.

Assessments and School Accountability

The Frederick County School Board supports the changes that have been made in assessment and accountability and supports the continued evaluation of such programs. The Board supports the work of the SOL Innovation Committee in identifying and implementing a revised balanced assessment and accountability model so that it:
  • Encompasses balanced assessments that recognize that academic success at the school level is represented by both “point-in-time achievement” and individual student growth measures
  • Reduces mandated Standards of Learning assessments to only those required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • Supports expanded flexibility regarding when SOL tests are administered
  • Reflects greater validity
  • Uses more cost efficient sampling techniques and other external evaluation arrangements
  • Allows for expedited test retakes
  • More accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success
  • Enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction, and leaders
  • Nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students

Local Control of Schools

Article VIII, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia states, “The supervision of schools in each school division shall be vested in a school board, to be composed of members selected in the manner, for the term, possessing the qualification, and to the number provided by law.” The Frederick County School Board strongly supports local control of public schools as stated in the Constitution of Virginia.

Mandates/Additional Administrative Burdens Unrelated to Quality Instruction

The Frederick County School Board remains deeply concerned about state mandates and additional administrative burdens being placed on schools and school divisions that are unrelated to providing high quality instruction to enhance student achievement. We recommend that any proposed mandates be closely examined to determine if they are truly necessary to improve student achievement. In addition, the local impact of such mandates must be considered.