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General Assembly Update: What to Expect in 2018

The 2018 regular session of the Virginia General Assembly will begin on Wednesday, January 10th.  As of January 4th, Republicans in the House of Delegates maintain a slight majority; however, the new cast of young Democrats will be heard on the Floor of the House and in committees.  Look for big changes on the House Education Committee and the House Appropriations (money) Committee.

VASSP will be on hand daily during the entire legislative session.  Be sure to check the VASSP website regularly for updates.  We will send you email blasts regarding new legislation, committee reports, and Calls for Action for you to contact your legislators.  Please be sure to let your delegate and state senator hear about your views on issues and bills. With member voices, VASSP can be more successful than ever in the challenging year ahead!



Governor Terry McAuliffe submitted his proposed biennial budget in December of 2017; the final product that emerges in March of 2018 will doubtless bear little resemblance to the outgoing Governor’s proposals.  The McAuliffe budget, however, will likely influence, to some degree, the budgetary actions of Governor-Elect Northam’s Administration and will form the basis of major public education funding issues in early General Assembly discussions, including: salary increases for teachers and principals; rebenchmarking for public education; SOA revision; and initiatives, such as those related to teacher shortages, discipline and career training.

Governor McAuliffe’s proposals include funding to automate the teacher license application system and to support principal recruitment and retention in our hardest-hit school divisions;

Fully funds re-benchmarking of the Standards of Quality, which equates to $436 million over the biennium;

Provides additional $7 million to support programming for at-risk students and $7.6 million to provide state support for a full-time principal in every elementary school. 

Includes $1 million in new funding for two-week cybersecurity camps dedicated to exposing high school students to careers in this rapidly growing industry.

Establishes competitive fund for principal retention and recruitment 2019 2020


Part B: Executive Biennial Budget 20182020 Biennium

All individuals seeking an initial Virginia teaching license must obtain passing scores on professional teacher’s assessments prescribed by the Board of Education. With the exception of the career switcher program that requires assessments as prerequisites, individuals must complete the professional teacher’s assessments within the three‐year validity of the initial provisional license.

Funds praxis assistance for provisionally licensed minority teachers 2019 2020

 Increases salaries for public school positions 2019 2020

 Provides funding for cyber security camps 2019 2020

 Moves teacher computer science training appropriation from Direct Aid to the Virginia Community College System

 Continues Academic Year Governor’s School per pupil and per course increases

Enhances funding for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports 2019 2020

Provides funding for the AtRisk AddOn Program 2019 2020



The list of pre-filed bills to be considered during the 2018 GA Session include: (click on bill number to read text).

The list of introduced bills will be continually updated throughout the 2018 Session. (Last Updated 01.08.18)

Bill Description Committee Date
HB 1 – Wilt – FOIA; release of scholastic records, definition of records includes directory information. (H)  Referral Pending 11/20/17
HB 2 – Bell, Richard P. – Teacher licensure; reciprocity, spouses of Armed Forces members. (H)  Referral Pending 11/20/17
HB 15 – Mullin – Student discipline, alternative; assault and battery without bodily injury. (H)  Referral Pending 11/20/17
HB 44 – Filler-Corn – High school family life education curricula; law and meaning of consent. (H)  Referral Pending 11/30/17
HB 45 – Filler-Corn – Family life education curricula; personal privacy and personal boundaries. (H)  Referral Pending 11/30/17
HB 50 – Hope – School meal policies; each local school board required to adopt policies. (H)  Referral Pending 11/30/17
HB 80 – Krizek – Teacher licensure by reciprocity; third-party verification of application documents. (H)  Referral Pending 12/07/17
HB 81 – Krizek – Division superintendents; vacancies, appointment. (H)  Referral Pending 12/07/17
HB 84 – Bell, Richard P. – American Sign Language, Instruction in; academic credit, foreign language requirements. (H)  Referral Pending 12/08/17
HB 121 – Rasoul – Community schools; development of program to establish schools. (H)  Referral Pending 12/17/17
HB 129 – Yancey – Worker retraining tax credit; manufacturing instruction for students. (H)  Referral Pending 12/19/17
HB 147 – Hurst – FOIA; scholastic records, student handheld mobile telephone, etc. (H)  Referral Pending 12/19/17
HB 150 – Bulova – Child abuse and neglect; founded reports regarding former school employees. (H)  Referral Pending 12/20/17
HB 159 – Rasoul – Family life education curricula; local school board to implement in grades kindergarten through 12. (H)  Referral Pending 12/21/17
HB 167 – Miyares – Diploma seals; science, technology, engineering, and advanced mathematics. (H)  Referral Pending 12/22/17
HB 168 – Murphy – Class size limits; establishes maximum of 24 students in science laboratory classes in grades 6-12. (H)  Referral Pending 12/22/17
HB 176 – Bell, Richard P. – Students with disabilities; feasibility of educational placement transition of certain students. (H)  Referral Pending 12/23/17
HB 212 – Wright – State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, school boards and school board employees. (H)  Referral Pending 12/29/17
HB 215 – Knight – Provisional teacher licensure, career switchers, adjunct professors. (H)  Referral Pending 12/29/17
HB 221 – Miyares – Education Improvement Scholarships tax credits; benefits & elig. requirements for disabled students. (H)  Referral Pending 12/29/17
HB 224 – Krizek – School buses, public; requirement of seat belts. (H)  Referral Pending 12/29/17
HB 251 – Guzman – Public schools; Standards of Learning assessments. (H)  Referral Pending 01/02/18
HB 252 – Guzman – High school staffing; mental health counselors. (H)  Referral Pending 01/02/18
HB 253 – Guzman – Special education aides; caseload. (H)  Referral Pending 01/02/18
HB 255 – Guzman – Public Preschool Fund and Grant Program. (H)  Referral Pending 01/02/18
HB 296 – Bell, Richard P. – Public schools; student discipline. (H)  Referral Pending 01/03/18
HJ 17 – Filler-Corn – SOL Innovation Committee; experiential learning & workforce development opportunities. (H)  Referral Pending 12/22/17
HJ 19 – Bell, Richard P. – Public elementary and secondary education; joint committee to study the future in the Commonwealth. (H)  Referral Pending 12/17/17
SB 79 – Lucas – Firearms; prohibited at certain preschools and child day centers. (S) Committee for Courts of Justice 12/06/17
SB 80 – Favola – School Health Advisory Board; established, report. (S) Committee on Rules 12/06/17
SB 124 – Black – Conflict of Interests Act. (S) Committee on Rules 12/18/17
SB 126 – Cosgrove – Driver education programs; parent/student driver education component. (S) Committee on Education and Health 12/19/17
SB 172 – Stanley – Education Improvement Scholarships tax credits; pre-kindergarten eligibility. (S) Committee on Finance 12/18/17
SJ 6 – Favola – Teacher licensing process; Department of Education to study. (S) Committee on Rules 12/06/17


Major legislative issues that VASSP will be following:

Discipline/Suspension and Expulsion:

As noted above (see HB 15), VASSP is working with Delegate Mullin and other major education associations to seek to amend the language in the proposed bill, to address Delegate Mullin’s concern surrounding referrals to law enforcement as well as long-held concerns of administrators regarding existing language, by requesting repeal of the requirement that any conduct that may constitute a misdemeanor must be reported by principals to law enforcement. VASSP’s understanding from the VSBA legal term working on this bill is that the current drafting would require principals to continue to report any conduct that may constitute a misdemeanor (except assaults with no injury) and to take disciplinary action OR determine that it is not appropriate.

Although VASSP and all other major public education associations have long lobbied for additional funding to address discipline alternatives (requiring additional space, staff, etc.), little money from the state has been forthcoming.  The Youth Commission plans to submit a proposal for a funding amendment to the 2018 budget.

Teacher Shortage (This crisis is expected to be front and center in the budget and legislation.)

Board of Education Initiatives (SOA; Portrait of a Graduate)

School Health (School Health Advisory Board; see SB 80)

Higher Education and Dual Enrollment (The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report, recently released to the General Assembly, will likely result in legislative initiatives aimed at many issues, including funding, accountability and enrollment.)

STEAMH (STEM plus Arts and Health)

Sexual Misconduct (aimed at public and private entities)

Innovation and Future of Public Education:

The SOL Innovation Committee, which has included VASSP representation since its inception, and the Committee on the Future of Public Education have met throughout 2017; however, this year they have not put forward legislative initiatives, with the exception of SB 80.  As a member of the Subcommittee on School Leadership and Student Outcomes of the Committee on the Future of Public Education, VASSP supported and voted in favor of the establishment of a School Health Advisory Board.  VASSP was instrumental in amending the original language of the proposed bill to add that public education representatives must be a permanent part of any such board.



The State Board of Education has had a busy and productive year; and VASSP has been watching and participating as the Board has tackled revising the SOA, concluding work on the Portrait of a Graduate, and devising a Comprehensive Plan, among other major accomplishments.  In 2018, the Board will continue to review and comply with the requirements of ESSA and review and assess SQP (school quality profiles) as well as options related to student growth indicators.  The Board is also on track to review and revise the guidelines of the Code of Student Conduct as well as guidelines for discipline alternatives.

Taking on the revision of the conduct code is a big job, and VASSP has communicated with Department of Education staff and requested that revision efforts take advantage of the expertise and recommendations of principals and assistant principals.  To date, there appears to have been insufficient input sought from public school administrators and teachers; however, we have been assured that a preliminary draft will be shared soon and that the Department will seek and include our input and review in future deliberations.

As school administrators well know, discipline is a complicated issue that is made even more difficult to address because of conflicting and incomplete data, lack of funding for alternatives and provocative news reports and legislation that frequently allude to single incidents, often referred to as “minor offenses,” in relation to out of school suspension/expulsion.  Add to that the concerns over a “school to prison” pipeline, and the discussion becomes even more complex and incendiary.  If principals and assistant principals are included as key players in addressing these issues, we believe the results will be positive steps forward.