Public Comments for: HB1024 - Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts; established, definition of poverty guidelines.
Last Name: Siracusa Locality: James City County

I oppose HB1024 - Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts (ESA) Because: 1. Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from public schools and the bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. 3. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. 4. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” 5. An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses and 6. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Cannon Locality: FREDERICKSBURG

I oppose HB1024 which is just another way to funnel money away from our public schools. If the public schools have problems it is surely because funding has been withheld from them in recent years. Since 2008, the schools have not been funded at an acceptable level. I love the public schools because they are the premier place where Americans build community. When students from every type of home come together, we learn to value and accept each other. HB1024 is just a way to rob our public schools and weaken their mission to educate all students equally and TOGETHER. Let's make sure ALL students are given the opportunity to be part of an inclusive American community. That is the America I know and love. Fully fund the public schools!

Last Name: Feld-Mushaw Locality: Prince William County

HB 1024... OPPOSE... Diverts public funds to private entities ... sounds like vouchers/tax shelter HB 344/356 OPPOSE... Local School Boards already have the authority to review applications for charters, etc.. once again looks like a method of diverting public funds to private entities .. Virginia underfunds it public schools as it is. We need to keep the public funds where it would do the most good and if the Va. Leg had not tied the hands of public education with all the SOQ/SOL requirements and was able to allow the educators more flexibility to implement programs tailored to the needs of their district more freely and would FUND these public programs things would be even better. I noted that all the Ed representatives opposed this at committee hearing. Who is going pay for that regional board mentioned in 356?? that will just siphon more public money for another layer of admin. HB346. I noted in the committee meeting that only the colleges who already have the capability to create lab schools now spoke FOR this bill because it would bring more of the public k-12 funds to their doorstep. Opens door for corporate/for profits to operate as well.

Last Name: LMiller Locality: Fairfax County

I support HB1024/1025 because choice creates competition and competition creates constant improvements and higher standards. Gving all parents an account to afford choice in education opens up choice to the poorer who could not afford school choice. This will release the currently trapped competitive demand that is needed to force government schools to improve and to meet the parents' demands. The reason Fed Ex exists is because the then existing government option and UPS may have been cheap but they provided terribly unreliable and slow service. It did not provide a service its customers wanted. Fed Ex filled that service need with a new choice of reliable express deliveries at affordable competitive rates, even overnight express deliveries. To survive USPS and UPS had to compete, and soon all delivery services improved, providing reliable, faster, and competitively priced express and regular services. The reason kids go to Private School or Homeschool is because the existing government option may have been cheap but they provided unsatisfactory service for their kids. Although more families have left the government schools than ever before, unlike FedEx, private school prices and homeschooling costs are not affordable or possible options for enough families to force change upon the government schools. And so the richer are getting better education while the poorer are stuck with a service that is free of competition and so it is getting worse and worse. Especially since it is run by those not caring what Parents want or to involve them. This high injustice of entrapping the poor with lower standards of education, not meeting parental demands must end now. HB1024/1025 will help do that.

Last Name: Grover Organization: Virginia for Educational Freedom Locality: Loudoun County

Unfortunately, this bill has serious problems that need to be corrected before being brought to the Floor for a vote: 1) It gives local school districts authority over parents' spending of the ESA funds. 2) The funds are not enough to cover even half a year of private school tuition. 3) The income limitations on this bill mean that the vast majority of families with school-age children in Virginia will not qualify for the ESA at all. 4) The families that can qualify for the ESA are unlikely to have enough of their own money to cover the funding gap for private school tuition--and this bill prevents them from accessing help through the Education Improvements Scholarship Tax Credit program. >>> This bill must be amended with ESA language that has NO government strings and provides universal eligibility. The best School Choice bill right now is HB 982, and everyone should be asking Republican leadership why it has never been brought up for a vote. EducationalFreedom.org

Last Name: Noggle Locality: Gainesville

Oppose HB1024 Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. This bill states that a “Qualified school means a sectarian or nonsectarian private elementary or secondary school.” This bill also says that no such school shall be required to alter its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum in order to receive moneys from such a savings account. (Line 231, 232) The Virginia Constitution states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds. The requirements of the Virginia Constitution need to be honored. Thus, please vote against HB1024.

Last Name: Hommer Locality: Fairfax

Thank you for this legislation. There's a reason parents are upset all over the country. Our teachers/school boards/administration have gone offtrack with their leftist indoctrination. This is exactly why homeschooling is skyrocketing. Time to help parents afford to send their children to private school. We have moved one child to private and are working to move another next year. The only way public schools are going to turnaround is if they feel the pain of losing money. We need to go back to teaching to classics.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Loudoun

Vouchers should not be granted in any form to families withdrawing their students from public schools. Withdrawing the funds makes public schools unable to continue quality education. Instead, parents should work with the state and their local schools to change the curriculum. If their objections focus around religious beliefs, curriculum should not be changed at all as the public school should not recognize any religion. Vouchers and school choice do not allow students to have equal access to IEP resources as many are excused from following these. Additionally, not all families have access to an alternate school from public schools, making it even more difficult to state that these educational savings accounts will actually help those needing "safer" schools. Don't defund the public schools.

Last Name: Willhite Locality: Clifton

Please vote no. Thank you.

Last Name: Anzures Locality: Warrenton

As a taxpayer and mother of school age children, I support HB1024. The public schools are failing our children and do not want parental involvement. It's time we allow the money to follow the child to an education the parent believes is best for their children. Private schooled and homeschooled children consistently out perform public school children. Colleges actively seek out these students knowing they have received a better education. The idea that allowing the money to follow the child will harm public schools by removing much needed funds is laughable. They will have the funds needed based on the amount of children whose parents choose to keep them in public school. As to those that leave, it equals less funds needed to teach a smaller group of children left in the public schools. It allows parents an opportunity to give their children a better education, especially in urban areas where schools are under performing. Give the parent's a choice and watch the competition create better schools.

Last Name: Brennan Locality: James City County

Please oppose HB1024 because the bill runs counter to the State Constitution, which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. "The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Joslin Locality: Fairfax

We OPPOSE establishing Parental Choice ESAs. Some reasons to oppose are: Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds. Please oppose this bill, James and Dorothy Joslin

Last Name: Plaut Locality: Blacksburg

Please oppose--a savings account diverts much needed money from our public schools. Given the terrible condition of many of our old school buildings, we need to give our tax money to support schools for ALL our children.

Last Name: HIngle Locality: Prince William County

ducational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Knight Locality: McLean, Fairfax County

I oppose Educational Savings Accounts (ESA). This bill runs counter to Article VIII, Section 10 of Virginia Constitution: "State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision there of." Our public schools need to have priority for funds, and ESA divert funds from our public schools. An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school's operating expenses. Furthermore, this bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies or curriculum.

Last Name: DeVoe Locality: Arlington

I am against this bill. Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools and allows for funding for religious or religious sect education which is not in line with the separation of church and state that our founding fathers established. We need full funding for schools, especially in areas that are underfunded and underserved and this will only exacerbate those problems as well as leave our current schools hurting for funds that have been diverted. In addition, this bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” Please vote NO on HB1024.

Last Name: Panak Organization: Shelton Panak Locality: Henrico

I oppose HB1024, HB344, HB356, and HB346. These bills divert funds from public schools, reduce transparency with respect to public interest in the education of its citizens, remove/reduce influence of local school boards, potentially introduce religious bias into instruction, and/or disproportionally benefit the wealthy. We need to invest in our public education system and encourage parents to participate in public education. We do not need to divert funds to private schools from an already underfunded public education system or reduce the tax base for public schools. Our society requires a quality education system for all of its citizens for its continued growth and stability. The public has as much interest in the education of children as parents. Focus on funding and promoting public education not trying to fund private and particularly, private for-profit schools, which are NOT in the best interests of the public.

Last Name: Smith Organization: League of Women Voters Locality: Prince Edward County

OPPOSE HB1024 Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools while funding religious education. The bill runs counter to the Virginia Constitution, which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof….” This bill also allows discrimination based upon creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum.

Last Name: Johnson Organization: none Locality: Reston

Dear Members of the K-12 Education Committee, I oppose HB 1024 because it diverts much-needed funds from the public school sector to the private school sector. Public schools have to teach all children in their catchment areas; these have to be counted as if they are attending the public school, even if they are not. The school has to budget for all of them, even if the funds to cover them have been diverted to parents who choose private schools. HB 1024 allows public funds to be diverted to religiously sectarian schools, in contradiction of the Virginia Constitution that prohibits public funding of sectarian schools. Families certainly have a right to choose sectarian education, but their own religious establishments should help them through scholarships. Public schools are supposed to observe the separation of church and state, ever more vital when children come from a variety of religious practices, each of which must be respected. Public schools have faced many expenses during the pandemic, and their staffs need salary increases and funding for better mental health services for students. These needs must be prioritized. Yours sincerely, Sidney Johnson

Last Name: Noggle Locality: MIDDLEBURG

I oppose HB 1024 and HB1025 Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Whitelaw Locality: Henrico

I am writing in opposition to HB1024. Such funds divert funds from our public schools which need our support more than ever to education the next generation of Virginians equitably and honestly. They also allow for public funding for religious and discriminatory education, preventing whole groups of Virginian children from receiving the education they are entitled to and deserve. The idea of "Parent Choice" as being promoted in this bill only serves a certain type of Parent and elevates those voices above both minority Parents and the larger population.

Last Name: Panak Locality: Henrico

Please do not support house bills 1024, 344,346, or 356. These bills divert resources from public schools. There is not interest in charter schools in Virginia, creating new schools is highly inefficient especially when there is a shortage of teachers and staff.

Last Name: Zelinski Locality: Montgomery

Virginia taxpayer revenue should not be funding private or religious schools. The Virginia Constitution Article VIII clearly states that Virginia citizens can rely on this funding mandate. I oppose actions like HR1024 which is a failure to follow the constitution.

Last Name: Shelton Locality: Chantilly, VA

My family and I strongly oppose this bill. We should not be diverting funding from public schools, particularly not to use public money for religious organizations. This runs directly contrary to the Virginia Constitution.

Last Name: Shelton Locality: Chantilly, VA

I am strongly opposed to HB 1024 - not only removing funding from public schools but also requiring costs to administer these savings accounts is a plan designed to undermine public education and force students into charter and private options that often are for-profit. I am Catholic and have young children who we may put in Catholic school, but I also recognize that free public education is a critical cornerstone of a healthy and productive society. State money should not be taken from public schools to support religious organizations. Public schools are often the only option for students who are disabled or have high support needs, and private schools are often not required to help them the way public schools are. This reduces accessibility and will widen the gap between students from poor and rich families.

Last Name: Forman Organization: Myself Locality: Albemarle

Please do not advance this bill. It will deprive public schools of much needed public funding and, instead, give my public money to religious education. The bill would violate the separation of "church" and State which is enshrined in our Constitution. NO public money for religion sponsored education!!!

Last Name: Gershman Locality: James City County

Oppose HB1024 Any bills that favor private schools or home schooling is detrimental to the public schools that are already underfunded. Private schools increase segregation, discrimination and exclusion. Studies show private schools do not improve the quality of education for students. The emphasis on religion at many private schools interferes with a well rounded STEAM based education and tax incentives conflict with the separation of church and state.

Last Name: Stenger Locality: Sterling

I am against HB1024. I am a mother in Loudoun County. Recently we moved from the state of Arizona where ESA was an unpopular option for parents. Constituents voted against it regularly, including what became a citizen referendum called Prop 305 where parents voted against ESA 2-1. The reason parents voted against was because it had helped destroy the school system by taking money out of public schools and giving them to private schools. Private schools have a right to discriminate against any student, based on gender, religion, ability, culture. I am against my tax dollars going to these types of schools. Schools should not be able to take tax dollars when they are able to discriminate, especially when the money is being taken away from public schools who have to and should take everyone. Please vote against HB1024.

Last Name: Freed Locality: Manassas

I oppose HB1024. Educational Savings Accounts divert money from our public school system which in many areas of the state is in dire need of more funding not less. Additionally, HB1024 covers funding for a religious or religious sect education which is not permitted according to our Virginia Constitution. Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” We need to make our public school system stronger not weaker. Please use this money to invest in our crumbling schools and increase pay for teachers.

Last Name: Brown Locality: ALEXANDRIA

I am very concerned that Educational Savings Accounts will divert funds from our public schools. I ask you to oppose this bill because it covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. It would allow discrimination based on its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum, which I cannot support. In addition, the bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” The General Assembly should not be considering bills that run counter to the Virginia Constitution. Our public schools need to have priority for public funds. For these reasons, I hope you will oppose this bill.

Last Name: McClintock Locality: Christiansburg

Please oppose HB1024. Montgomery County Public Schools are in need of support to maintain excellence. Do not do anything that takes funding from our schools.

Last Name: Brown Locality: ALEXANDRIA

I write to you asking you to oppose this bill. I am very concerned that Educational Savings Accounts will divert funds from our public schools. This bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education, which I oppose. It allows discrimination based on its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. In addition, the bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” Our public schools need to have priority for public funds. For these reasons, I hope you will oppose this bill.

Last Name: Mason Locality: City of Richmond

I'm a high school math teacher and the numbers just aren't adding up here. This bill doesn't make the cost of education for all of our students the priority. HB1024 seeks to syphon funds away from our youth and puts it in the pocket of for profit "education." I was taught by our Virginia public school system that education is the power of the masses and this bill appears to me to try, yet again, to take power away from the many in favor of the few. Don't allow this constitutional injustice to take place.

Last Name: Crawley Locality: Ashburn, VA

Your bills regarding vouchers, and savings accounts are going to cost the public school system exponentially. Not only is this unethical, it is against what the Governor ran on (promises of NOT depleting public school spending). Our public schools are struggling to maintain staff and work under extraordinary circumstances, with these bills you are undermining what the public school system stands on. With students already struggling and facing deficits this would be catastrophic. Please DO NOT approve vouches.

Last Name: Welsher Locality: Loudoun

As has always been the case, if a parent doesn’t like something about public school, whether it be closure due to pandemic (and virtual option) that parent has the right to find a private school of choice and pay for that. This has never changed and should remain the case. Taking monies from public school only deteriorates schooling for those kids continuing there.

Last Name: Howard Organization: Virgina Beach Tea Party Locality: Virginia Beach

Three reason for school choice Education is the single most important tool to help lift people out of poverty School safety helps students escape communities where bullying, gang related violence is common. Special needs children can get schooling tailored to their needs.

Last Name: Cole Locality: James City County

I argue you to vote against HB1024. The evisceration of taxpayer funding for public schools is unacceptable. The US Constitution reserves the power to establish public education to the States under the 19th Amendment and the Virginia Constitution details funding allocation. A vote against this bill is a vote for the children and the future of Virginia.

Last Name: Coleman Locality: Henrico County

Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Coleman Locality: He

Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Choate Locality: Henrico

Please oppose HB333. Local school boards are charged with the mission of delivering public education in their districts. Time and resources should not be spent administering savings plans for any purpose. Please pass HB649. The provisions of this bill would be real assets to students and families of the deaf and hard of hearing. Please oppose HB873. While improved school security is certainly a desirable goal, school districts should not be bound as to how best to achieve this in their districts. The disparity in funding across Virginia school districts means that many smaller, rural districts have severely limited funding sources and consequently should not be hampered with staffing micro-management that may not meet their needs. Further, other school districts may find that the presence of local law enforcement in their schools does more to create tension and erode trust than alternative security measures may depending on the dynamics within their population. Please oppose HB1024. The state and local school boards are in the business of providing a high quality education to ALL of its children. Neither the state nor local school boards should dilute funding from this mission by diverting tax resources toward the pursuit of private alternatives. If localities would not divert public safety funding to citizens who pursue private security services, why would they consider doing something similar for education? Please pass HB1179. Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latino, and Indigenous peoples are only marginally represented within social studies curricula. The establishment of an advisory committee to the executive branch in improving the representation of these populations can only be helpful in closing this gap.

Last Name: Caywood Organization: retired Locality: Virginia Beach

I oppose HB1024. I willingly pay taxes to support public schools because I believe educating the next generation is the only sure way to grow our economy and preserve our Constitution. Moreover, because I vote for school board members and also, politely, communicate with them on issues, I have a measure of control over how my taxes are spent. Thus I wholeheartedly object to any diversion of public funding from its intended purpose into support for schools for which taxpayers have no oversight. Additionally, many of Virginia's public schools are in dire need of more funding. To propose taking public money away from districts that just voted to raise their taxes so they can begin to fix their crumbling schools is shameful. I urge the committee to reject HB1024.

Last Name: Levy Locality: Ashland

My name is Dr. Rachel Levy and I live in Ashland, Virginia (23005), in the 55th House of Delegates District and the 9th State Senate District. I am a mother of three--I have one child in Hanover County Public Schools as well as two who are just graduated in 2021. I am also a teacher who has a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy from VCU. I was a candidate for the 55th District seat in 2021. I oppose HB1024 and HB 1025 because I support our public schools, because they are impractical, because they're unconstitutional, because they will only serve to subsidize affluent parents, and because the people in the districts where I live do not want vouchers, directly or via a back door. Studies of the impact of vouchers on student performance show no difference in performance or show that public school students outperform their voucher-program peers. Our public schools in Virginia are already chronically underfunded--Virginia ranks 41st in per-PK-12 student spending out of all states. Voucher studies also show that vouchers tend to favor students from more affluent families and can drive economic and racial segregation. Most low-income families don't receive enough support to make use of school vouchers and so a bill like this will cause much needed public funding for our public schools to be diverted to affluent parents and their chosen private schools. Private schools that participate in voucher programs are generally free to reject or accept students based on perceived at-risk status, academic ability, religion, sexual orientation or gender-identity which allows private schools to discriminate against certain groups of students while raking in public funds. On average, parents of students who switch to private schools with vouchers are not happier or more satisfied. Voucher schemes are especially harmful to rural communities which can ill afford to lose any funding and with whom local public schools are popular and cherished community centers and gathering places. School vouchers will destroy these cherished institutions in our rural communities--institutions which are already struggling from neglect and under-funding. My campaign in the 55th District, which is largely rural, knocked about 9500 doors in the past campaign cycle. The citizens of the 55th District love their public schools and want them to be stronger and fully funded and staffed. They don't want school vouchers. Thank you for your time and consideration and for your service to our Commonwealth.

Last Name: Homeschooling Parent Locality: Loudoun

Education vouchers are desperately needed in Virginia. We should not be punishing parents who wish to educate their children outside the public school system. Currently, Virginia is withholding state tax funds for purchasing curriculum to homeschooling children or for enrolling them in private schools. The public school system has been overrun with social justice warriors and liberal indoctrination instructors. Parents who do not want their children groomed to be the next generation of freedom-hating socialist-worshiping liberal mouthpieces have the right to be monetarily compensated. If the public school system insists on supplementing educational curriculum with social emotional learning and critical race theory, making children feel ashamed for the color of their skin or where their ancestors came from, the state has a moral obligation to provide vouchers and funding to parents who are against this type of abuse.

Last Name: Downey Organization: LEADK VA Locality: Hanover, VA

I respectfully ask that you support HB649. This legislation is vital to changing the devastating statistics regarding language deprivation among d/Deaf, DeafBlind and hard-of-hearing children. Having access to language, ensuring resources are provided for parents and tracking their language acquisition to measure their language acquisition from ages 0-5 against that of their hearing peers are all key components for kindergarten readiness and towards a happy, productive future. Thank you for you support and voting YES for HB649.

Last Name: VanDerhoff Locality: Springfield

I am writing to urge you to vote no on HB 201, HB 333, and HB 1024. These bills divert public money out of public schools and into charter and private schools. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure that our public schools are fully-funded. Please protect public school funding by voting no on these bills.

Last Name: Davis Locality: Hamilton

I oppose HB1024 for the following reasons - please vote NO! Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Tarpinian Locality: City of Falls Church

I am against this bill and against any tax payer funds going to anything other than our public schools that are already underfunded in some areas of the Commonwealth. If parents want to send their children to private or religious schools, fine, but at their own expense. Our public schools offer extremely good educations in Virginia and we should be supporting our educators and facilities with our tax dollars, not private schools or religious schools.

Last Name: DeRosa Locality: Arlington

I am a retired teacher who taught in Fairfax County Public Schools for 20 years. I am also a resident of Arlington County. I urge this committee to reject HB 1024 which would remove monies necessary to fund our public schools. Never has this Commonwealth fully-funded the SOQs (not since I began teaching in 1976) - and yet this bill would steal funds from public schools and allow them to be used to pay for private schools, including parochial (church-funded/affiliated) schools. This would violate the separation of state and church that is engrained in our state and federal Constitutions. NO on HB 1024.

Last Name: Lloyd Locality: South Riding

Stop trying to divert public school funding to private schools! We have one of the best school systems in the country, but certain politicians will look for any excuse to use public money to fund private religious schools. Not only does that directly oppose the founders’ intention of separation of church and state, but private schools are relatively unaccountable and can discriminate against certain students based on many factors including religion, economic background, and English language ability. Public funds should pay only for schools that are open to all children and accountable to the general public. Parents are welcome to choose to send their children to private religious schools, but that should not be subsidized by taxpayers.

Last Name: Gillam Locality: HERNDON

Please do not vote fpr this bill. A vote for Educational Savings Accounts diverts funds from our public schools. Our public schools need to have priority for all funding.

Last Name: McDonald (B) Locality: South Riding

I am a student at a Virginia Middle school and I support public schools and don't think you should take money away from them.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Leesburg

Stop the assault on public schools! Stop trying to divert funds away from public education. Stop trying to crush morale in public education. Stop hurting trans children in public education. Stop failing students by teaching them a whitewashed version of the past. Stop using child-on-child rape as a tool for political gain. Stop banning books. Stop legislating curriculum, particularly events that never happened such as the Abe Lincoln-Frederick Douglass debates. We owe our children a fighting chance. We owe them a great education, which cannot happen without the truth being taught. Every child is better off when every child is set up for success.

Last Name: Bean Locality: South Riding

Public schooling is our country's best investment in creating adults who can contibute to society in meaningful ways. Voucher programs that take funding away from public schools should NEVER be implemented. We need to build up and invest in public education. These attempts to gut public education are absolutely disgusting.

Last Name: Marfatia-Goode Locality: Frederick County

6 of the states who currently offer ESAs/Vouchers rank in the bottom 1/2 of the states for the National Education Ranking. do we really want that to happen to Virginia?

Last Name: Boyd Locality: Arlington

Please do not approve HB 1024. Funds for educating Virginia’s students should go to public schools. My daughter graduated from a public high school in Arlington. I appreciate that the cost to educate my daughter and other students in Virginia’s public schools is expensive, and I am grateful that those funds were expended on her behalf. Please do not divert any funds away from public schools, as contemplated in this bill, and continue to focus on making our public school system as strong as possible.

Last Name: Artz Locality: Oakton

Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Godfrey Locality: Loudoun county

I oppose the following bills : 346, 344, 356, 784, 788, 1024, 1025, 982. The Virginia Constitution provides for state funding and state support for public schools. Any state monies, tax credits, scholarships that go to private schools, lab schools, charter schools are taking away from the State’s duty to fund public education. We have never been able to fully meet the need for funds for public school renovation, a desperate need in many school districts. Now is the wrong time to take on state funding of private education.

Last Name: Layne Locality: Blacksburg

I am writing to oppose the establishment of Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts. Such accounts would take funding away from our public schools. Public education is fundamental to a functioning democracy. Tax dollars should not be spent on private schools, especially those that promote a specific religious perspective. Any educational program receiving public funds must be non-sectarian, and must not discriminate based on religious views. Please make adequate funding for our public schools a priority. Thank you.

Last Name: Jennings Locality: Abingdon

Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Johnson Locality: Midlothian

SB1024 is a bill that I oppose. Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. And also ,this bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. That is not how our public education system works. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. Cheryl MyersJohnson Midlothian, VA 23112

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Please move to report HB201, HB333, HB649, HB873, HB1024.

Last Name: Ruland Locality: Falls Church

Long overdue! Improve education through competition. Allow parents to pick the best school for their child's education.

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Association Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

These bills are OPPOSED by the Virginia Education Association and myself, a public school teacher in Fairfax County.

Last Name: Dotson Locality: Prince Edward

HB 1024 &HB1025.... It is time for the General Assembly to pass legislation that responds to ALL parents. Not just a select few. County schools are failing our students. Teacher's classes are overloaded and our students suffer. It isn't fair to pass students simply because no student should be left behind! Kids aren't learning and parents can't afford to choose another option. Give our children a future!

Last Name: Woodruff Organization: Home School Legal Defense Association Locality: Purcellville

Home School Legal Defense Association opposes HB 1024 because it will authorize government money to flow to home school families. Where government money goes, government control will eventually follow. This bill is a long-term threat to the continued freedom to homeschool. A similar bill is pending in another state, and the state's superintendent of public instruction said: "If we start giving homeschoolers state money, there’s got to be state accountability.” Source: https://www.alreporter.com/2022/02/03/parents-choice-bill-passes-committee-over-concerns-from-critics/

Last Name: Kiken Locality: Loudoun County

I do not support Bill HB1025. The allotted amount is a drop in the bucket when using it toward private or charter schools and does not make private schools any more affordable. As well, only public schools are required to adhere to IDEA for special education. Taking away funds from public schools removes needed resources for our special education students. I do not support this bill since it will give nothing to parents in the long run, and take away needed resources for students in the public school setting.

Last Name: White Locality: Fairfax County

Delegate LaRock, I am writing to let you know that requiring students to wear masks is a safety issue for students, teachers and staff. It is not something that will be required forever, but necessary at this time of high incidents of Covid with students.(HB 1036) You need to go into the schools and see what we see as educators. Until you have been in the schools, you can make this call against masks. Do you wear a seat belt? We follow regulations every day to keep ourselves and others safe. This is not an issue that needs attention, helping our public schools, our students and teachers is a greater need. Prioritize your concerns. If you are doing this just for political support, then you need to not be in a position to lead in our state.

Last Name: White Locality: Fairfax County

Delegate LaRock, I am writing to ask that you reconsider your view on Parental Choice Education Savings Account. This may sound like a bill most parents would approve, but it is not. This is just another way of circumventing the public education system. Providing these savings accounts is not helping our underprivileged and disadvantaged students, but allowing parents to choose a school that is not diverse and based on inclusion. These private and charter schools pick and choose who they will admit in their schools. Parents who favor these accounts want to segregate our children. Parents who do not want to send their students to public schools (which is their right), should do so and also pay for it themselves. Public schools need the funds more than any parent who wants to segregate their children. I pray for our public schools everyday that these attacks stop.

Last Name: White Locality: Fairfax County

Delegate LaRock, I am writing to let you know that requiring students to wear masks is a safety issue for students, teachers and staff. It is not something that will be required forever, but necessary at this time of high incidents of Covid with students. You need to go into the schools and see what we see as educators. Until you have been in the schools, you can make this call against masks. Do you wear a seat belt? We follow regulations every day to keep ourselves and others safe. This is not an issue that needs attention, helping our public schools, our students and teachers is a greater need. Prioritize your concerns. If you are doing this just for political support, then you need to not be in a position to lead in our state.

Last Name: Waddell Locality: Suffolk

I am a wife, mother, educator and resident of the city of Suffolk and I oppose these bills (including HB788, which was not on the list) because k-12 vouchers do not improve student outcomes. They take much needed money from public education. Virginia needs to put more money into public education, not less. We are current ranked 41st for per student spending. Our teacher salaries are nowhere near where they should be and we are currently suffering from a teacher shortage. There are numerous studies (Brookings Institute, National Bureau of Economic Research, University of Virginia) that show vouchers do not improve student outcomes. Investing in public schools improves outcomes, graduation and post secondary enrollment. Vote no on these bills. Thank you. Mrs. D. Waddell

Last Name: Cooper-Gould Locality: Reston, VA

Vote NO on HB 1024. This bill is another form of voucher system. As an advocate for students and education, I urge you to vote no. Ultimately, this bill will harm far more students with disabilities than it would help. It will pull money out of public education, where students with disabilities have legal protections under IDEA , and divert public money to private institutions that are not bound by the same laws as public education. Additionally, private special education school tuition is exorbitantly expensive, even with some state funding credit, it is largely unaffordable to the vast majority of Virginia residents. The outcome is worse services for the majority of students with disabilities in VA. Please vote no. A better effort would be to increase public school funding for students with disabilities and to make laws improving public school disability programming.

Last Name: Parks Locality: Albemarle County

Hello, I would like to comment in support of HB1024, which provides Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts. My would like to propose a change to the definition of "qualified student." The definitions provided in points 3 and 4 are not inclusive to include special education students whose parents have chosen to remove them from the public schools and teach them at home. Our local public schools fails to provide adequate, evidence-based dyslexia services, thus our dyslexic and dysgraphic 2nd-grader has been schooled at home, supplemented by very costly tutoring and occupational therapy services. He has been evaluated through the public schools and has an ISP, which is the IEP equivalent for home-schooled and private school students. Thus, I propose that the qualifications be amended to allow students with ISPs who were not enrolled in public elementary or secondary schools to be included in the qualifications for the Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts. Special education students are not adequately being served in the public schools, and thus these students should not have to spend two semesters languishing back in the public schools in order to access these funds.

End of Comments