Local Leaders Call for State Budget That Increases Newport News School Funding by $20.6M

5-Stop ‘Show Me Your Values’ Mobile Billboard Tour Stops in Newport News, Highlights What’s at Stake for Peninsula Public Schools

View Footage of the Press Conference Here

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), Senator Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg), Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones, and Newport News City Council Member Cleon M. Long today came together in Newport News to call on Governor Glenn Youngkin and budget negotiators to prioritize Virginia children and their education, not corporations and the wealthiest Virginians.

The legislators were joined by VEA Colonial UniServ Chair Sam Eure, Hampton Federation of Teachers Organizer Mariah Petite, and local activists in continuation of Freedom Virginia’s 5-stop “Show Me Your Values” mobile billboard tour. Together they called for passage of the Virginia Senate’s proposed budget, which makes ahistoric investment in schools and communities, rather than the House’s proposed budget, which gives tax handouts to big corporations and the wealthiest Virginians that would cost billions of dollars in the coming years, taking even more money from our schools.

The leaders highlighted a new report by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis that shows the potential impact of budget decisions on schools in Newport News and the Peninsula. The Senate budget would mean $20.6 million more for Newport News City public schools, or $822 more per student. The increased Senate funding would add 373 staffers to Newport News City schools, including school support staff like counselors, social workers and nurses. Hampton Schools would receive an additional $11.1 million in funding, breaking down to $587 per student and an additional 126 staff positions.

The House Republican budget isn’t just a one-time giveaway to corporations and the wealthiest among us. In the coming years, its cost would balloon, taking billions of dollars away from K-12 schools.

The tour has previously stopped in Virginia Beach, Leesburg and Henrico County. It concludes Friday in Harrisonburg.

“The top tax rate reduction not only provides an average benefit of zero dollars, that’s right zero dollars for the bottom 20% of earners while helping Youngkin’s buddies at the top 1% with an average benefit of nearly $4,000,” said Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton). “Not only that, but that proposal alone will cost Virginia $1.5 billion in the next biennial budget, leaving even less resources on the table to help our public schools. What is worse is this proposal does nothing to fix an upside-down tax code that puts many working class people like teachers in the same tax bracket as millionaires. You don’t have to be a math expert to know that the top 1%, the wealthiest of the wealthy, in our state don’t need additional financial help right now.”

“The Senate focuses on support staff positions,” said Senator Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg).  “Support staff positions help teachers teach and accentuate the learning and the education that’s taking place in our schools. That’s what we need to focus on. That’s why we’re here today. And that’s why we’re insistent upon passing the Senate budget.”

“As we look at Newport News, strong public schools are building blocks for thriving communities,” said Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones. “Losing out on these resources would set us back at a time when Virginia already has a low rating from the Education Law Center when it comes to school funding efforts. The additional $1 billion for our public schools in Virginia will put us in the right direction and help our students succeed.”

“The heart of strong, thriving communities is strong thriving public schools,” said Newport News City Council Member Cleon M. Long. “And right now our policymakers and the General Assembly have a choice in front of them. Either pass abudget that makes historic investments in public education or pass a budget that is a tax giveaway for corporations and the wealthy.”

“If we wish to recruit and retain highly qualified, motivated teachers, we must fund our schools,” said VEA Colonial UniServ Chair Sam Eure. “If we want more social workers, psychologists, school and school counselors, nurses and school counselors we must fund our schools. If we want more security, better facilities and current technology, we must fund our schools.”

In addition to Hampton and Newport News, York County would receive $5,924,574 in additional funding, or $463 per child. That would allow for 86 staff positions. James City County would get $3,967,582, or $389 in extra funding allowing for 67 more staff to be hired. Poqouson would benefit from $948,011 in additional funding, or $467 per student; and Williamsburg would receive an additional $197,947, or $187 per student.

Brigid Godfrey

Brigid Godfrey

Communications Director

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