Funding our schools
In 2019, LAJC and partners launched the Fund our Schools Coalition, a diverse, statewide coalition of parents, students, teachers, and organizations who believe that every child in every zip code across the Commonwealth of Virginia should have access to a high-quality public education.
Through the Alliance for Virginia’s Students, LAJC has advocated for public schools for more than two decades, winning and protecting billions of dollars in funding over the years, including expansion of preschool programs. The launch of Fund Our Schools reflects LAJC’s renewed commitment to education equity, LAJC helped establish the Coalition, provides much of the technology and communications infrastructure, is part of the steering committee, and provides dedicated year-round staffing.
Fear of the pandemic’s impact on Virginia’s budget created a difficult environment in the Coalition’s first budget cycle in early 2020, but Fund Our Schools managed to win an increase in the number of school counselors and English-as-a-Second-Language teachers, more funds for schools serving students from low-income families, and a pay increase for teachers and certain designated staff.
During the special session in the summer of 2020, Fund Our Schools helped prevent over $500 million in proposed funding cuts based on pandemic-related enrollment declines. The Coalition also produced materials to help members and other activists to lobby their local governments to allocate pandemic stimulus funds to local schools.
In the next budget cycle in early 2021, Fund Our Schools won a bill that requires at least three school support positions—like school nurses or school social workers—for every 1,000 students in Virginia’s public schools, a significant step toward rolling back the “support cap,” a massive cut imposed in 2009 that continues to undermine Virginia’s foundational funding formula more than a decade later.
We also won $50 million to fund the School Equity and Staffing Act, $40 million for methods to remediate lost instruction time, and improved teacher salaries.
Fund our Schools’ primary demand is that Virginia fully and fairly fund our public schools. We have a long way to go to achieve that demand amid new and continued attacks on public education. You can join the fight by visiting https://www.fundourschoolsva.org/.