More funds for schools approved

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017

As we worked through the budget process negotiating between the Senate and House budgets that were agreed to three weeks ago, we were able to add $1.3 million for the schools in the 15th Senate District. This was because of a steeply declining population in five of our school systems. Each of those counties would have rather had a growing school age population than those dollars (if their population had remained the same they would have received more by the state’s education formula), but that was not the case.

The agreed upon House/Senate budget was worked out as fair as possible considering Virginia’s economy has not grown as the administration had expected last year. The General Assembly worked diligently to balance the competing issues before us. To avoid the miscalculation of the state’s growth — as on the last budget — the House agreed with the Senate’s position of holding some funds in reserve. That amount of $35 million will protect raises rather than risking what happened last year.

The Senate insisted and convinced the House that a 2-percent raise was better for our teachers and college professors than the 1.5 percent bonus the governor had proposed. This was even though they must wait several more months to receive raises.

Early on, there was agreement between the House and Senate that we would provide raises to state employees.

Frank Ruff represents Charlotte in the Senate. His email address is