What a week! Monday began with driving rain and gusty winds. By Wednesday, the sun was shining as temperatures reached the mid-60's. Rain or shine, though, one factor remained constant: record-breaking crowds at the Capitol. Daily public attendance has consistently topped 4,500. The halls and elevators are continually full of Virginians who are making their voices heard.
As a legislator, I truly appreciate seeing so many citizens visiting the seat of government here in the Commonwealth. A consistent theme heard from visitors is education. From early childhood to K-12 to higher education, Virginians expect a strong system of education. Here are just a few ways we are working to address this priority.
Early childhood: Delegate Jimmie Massie is carrying
House Bill 1963
, legislation making families with at-risk four year olds (who are not served by Head Start) eligible for tax credits to enroll in a pre-k program.
K-12: Did you know that in 2016 the House budget sent 31% of lottery funds--$272 million--back to local school divisions? This mechanism gives local schools more flexibility by not requiring matching funds or mandating how the funds must be spent. In regard to innovation, Delegate Dickie Bell is carrying
House Bill 1400
establishing Virginia Virtual Schools so students are not bound to brick-and-mortar buildings for their education. Instead, they can take classes offered all over Virginia.
Higher education: College costs are soaring, and students are graduating with staggering debt. Delegate Kirk Cox is carrying
House Bill 2427
, legislation to incentivize students to complete their degrees on time. The bill increases financial aid funds as students progress through their academic career.