Public Comments for: HB344 - Public charter schools; applications, review and approval.
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: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Kannengieszer Locality: Loudoun

I am writing in opposition of HB344 and HB346. HB344 - local governing bodies should have the sole discretion to approve or reject charter schools within their jurisdiction. Given that our schools are still underfunded, the emphasis should be improving the educational experience for all students, not passing the buck. HB346 - Our local school boards are best equipped to make recommendations for student needs. We should not be establishing schools outside the purview of the school board and without accountability to the parents and voters. The bill would also allow institutions whose values run counter to the goal of inclusive public schooling to enter our public schools. Underserved communities are already struggling and should not have their vulnerability exploited by schools or private businesses with a political agenda. Keep our money in our schools. A strong public education system benefits every citizen and improves our communities.

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

Both I, a public school teacher in Fairfax County, and the Virginia Education Association OPPOSE HB 344 & 346. Charter schools (and variations) take essential moneys away from public education. Charters hurt students, schools, and communities.

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

I SUPPORT HB 1328. I OPPOSE HB 344, 787, and 1009.

Last Name: Savage Locality: Fairfax County

I oppose HB344. There are already processes outlined in the Code of Virginia allowing the development of new charter schools. The reason Virginia has not developed new charter schools in recent years is because there was simply no interest in doing so, and so few applicants. This bill will remove local authority of school boards who are most qualified to make these decisions.

Last Name: Brennan Locality: James City County

Please oppose HB344 and HB356. Our public schools need attention and are the best places for our tax dollars. Charter schools will not lessen the financial burden of education and would compete with funding for existing public schools. Another level of administration, teachers, libraries, and food services, for example, would have a significant impact on funding our public schools. The public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession. Public schools first and foremost.

Last Name: Cannon Locality: FREDERICKSBURG

Dear Members of the Education Committee, I respectfully wish to oppose HR344. I am a retired Virginia K12 teacher and I have seen first hand what lack of funding and support for our public schools has done to the quality of education and the morale of both students and staff. The schools I served and loved have never recovered from the decrease in funding that began in 2008 and has continued on into the present. Public schools are important. They are the place where students of all races, all economic classes, and all abilities mix together to form an inclusive community that promotes acceptance. This community where ALL children have a place is important to the health of our county. Please do not destroy this mission of the public schools by taking needed funds to provide a duplicate and divisive system of schools which will surely support a division of children until there is NO place left for us all to be citizens together. I support full funding of America's public school system.

Last Name: Caywood Organization: retired Locality: Virginia Beach

Remember the Great Recession? The cuts made then to school funding have never been fully restored. That's where our tax dollars should be going, not diverted to schools where taxpayers have no voice. My taxes educate other people's children and I'm fine with that as long as I have a vote on electing the governing school board and the opportunity to speak at that board's public meetings. HB344 takes away my voice as a voter and taxpayer. Please do not pass HB344.

Last Name: Ross Locality: Arlington

Our current schools should be our priority. The charter schools would compete with our public schools for our current tight and limited resources. Another level of administration at a regional level would have a major fiscal impact. Significant personnel for administration, teachers, maintenance, health, safety, and food services would be required even if it is a school with a smaller number of students. It is already difficult to staff our public schools. Funds would be needed for transportation, libraries and books. These standard educational supplies, alone, carry high costs. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession.

Last Name: Plaut Locality: Blacksburg

Please oppose all bills which give taxpayer money to charter schools or university lab schools. These schools are not accountable to local parents or voters, and their support takes money away from public schools, which are essential to our democracy.

Last Name: Hingle Locality: Prince William County

HB344 (Davis) Public charter schools; applications; review and approval and HB356 (Tata) Authorizes the Board of Education to establish regional charter school divisions Our current schools should be our priority. The charter schools would compete with our public schools for our current tight and limited resources. Another level of administration at a regional level would have a major fiscal impact. Significant personnel for administration, teachers, maintenance, health, safety, and food services would be required even if it is a school with a smaller number of students. It is already difficult to staff our public schools. Funds would be needed for transportation, libraries and books. These standard educational supplies, alone, carry high costs. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession. HB346 (Davis) College partnership laboratory schools; application and establishment Local school boards are best positioned to determine what their students need. The proposed legislation would set up schools that are outside of the local school board purview and therefore outside of accountability to local parents and voters. The bill would allow private institutions and businesses to establish schools.

Last Name: Knight Locality: McLean in Fairfax County

We need to prioritize energies and money for our current schools and their students. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 levels when funds were diverted due to the recession. Charter schools will compete for these limited funds: additional teachers, administrators, educational supplies, maintenance and health, safety and food services. Charter schools do not equitably serve the needs of all students. I oppose any legislation supporting charter schools.

Last Name: Flinn Locality: Chesterfield

Hello esteemed committee members, I am a parent of a current Chesterfield County Public school child as well as a 2019 graduate of CCPS schools. I am a STRONG supporter of public schools. I oppose any proposed bills, including HB344, HB346, and HB356, that take away control from locally elected school boards and give it to privately operated boards that have the real potential for cronyism, grift, corruption, and fraud. Charter schools also siphon taxpayer money from Virginia's already severely underfunded public schools and fling open doors to businesses/people that profit off of public education. Virginia's current College partnership laboratory schools are public, nonsectarian, nonreligious schools established by a public or private institutions of higher education that operate a teacher education program approved by the Board of Education. The language in HB 346 would allow ANY public or private institution of higher ed OR private business to apply to the BOE to establish a college partnership laboratory school. This would open doors for for-profit schools like EPI, religious schools like Regent, or businesses like Amazon or McDonalds to establish teacher training programs. This is another attempt at education privatization. Please keep in mind that Virginia is currently ranked 4th by Wallet Hub for best schools in the US. This is WITHOUT a proliferation of charter schools and attained during the Covid-19 pandemic. Why do we need charter schools? Who REALLY wants them? https://wallethub.com/edu/e/states-with-the-best-schools/5335 Public education is the foundation of a democratic society. It is open to all students, regardless of color, disability, income level, religious belief (or lack of one), gender identity, or national origin. Please say no to HB 344, HB346, and HB356. Thank you.

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 Locality: Prince Edward Co.

OPPOSE HB344 Charter schools would compete with our public schools for limited resources and personnel at a time when public schools are struggling. The General Assembly does not fund the SOQ, and our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession.

Last Name: Noggle Locality: MIDDLEBURG

I oppose HB344, HB346 and HB356. Our current schools should be our priority. The charter schools would compete with our public schools for our current tight and limited resources. Another level of administration at a regional level would have a major fiscal impact. Significant personnel for administration, teachers, maintenance, health, safety, and food services would be required even if it is a school with a smaller number of students. It is already difficult to staff our public schools. Funds would be needed for transportation, libraries and books. These standard educational supplies, alone, carry high costs. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession.

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: Gershman Locality: James City County

Oppose HB344 and HB356 Current schools should be the priority.

Last Name: Gershman Locality: James City County

Oppose HB344 Current schools should be the priority.

Last Name: Gershman Locality: James City County

Oppose HB344 Current schools should be the priority.

Last Name: Fege Locality: Fairfax

HB344 - Public schools that are open to all students need to be our priority and these public schools need to remain under the control of local school divisions. Funding additional schools outside of local control removes funding from local public schools. This is especially important when more, not less, funding is needed for public schools. HB346 - This bill also removes local control and funding from public schools. Public school divisions have the capability to work with local public institutions of high learning to provide lab schools. This cooperation should be encouraged at the local level - NOT with legislation that encourages private institutions and business to establish schools.

Last Name: Greenwood Locality: Reston

I oppose any of the pending legislation that would divert funds and resources from our public schools. Our public schools are already shamefully underfunded.

Last Name: Bowman Locality: Roanoke County

Good morning, esteemed members of Virginia's House of Delegates, I’m a parent who lives several hours away from Richmond and DC and I believe it’s imperative that local control in education decision making should remain just that; local. I currently have easy access to the locally elected, public school leaders and school system administrators in my county and am able to see their budgets, provide input on income and expenditures, and ensure our tax dollars are being spent wisely. Please don’t remove citizens’ rights to do this by opening the flood gates to charter school operators, outsiders who aren’t invested in our communities. I’ve chronicled the problems other states have with their charter schools since 2015. Each day in the headlines I see fraud, waste, embezzlement, and mismanagement of funds by charter school operators in those states. We don’t need those problems for Virginia. Charter schools often use selective enrollment tactics, can’t accommodate children with special needs, and don’t provide transportation and meals. These would be very big issues for countless students and their families here in SW Virginia. If communities would like to open charter schools, they may do so now under Virginia’s Constitution, and that’s the way it should remain. Virginia’s public schools are ranked 4th in the nation. They’re valuable, not because they’re money-makers, but because they’re responsible citizen makers. Please don’t undermine them and further under-fund them through unwise charter school legislation. Instead, please better support our neighborhood public schools through full and fair funding. Please look at the Community Schools model as a way to provide services for children in need of supports that will help them succeed in the classroom. Sincerely, Laura Bowman

Last Name: Binkley Organization: Virginia Educators United Locality: Alexandria

Respected Committee Members, The push to create charters in Virginia via a variety of methods in HB346, HB356, and HB344 is a deeply flawed idea. Across Virginia we have over 44 International Baccaulareate schools which are the most respected advanced acacemic program in the world. Those districts are all across the Commonwealth, including 2 in Virginia Beach, Danville, York, Hanover, and Fauquier. Most students can access Dual Enrollment classes in virtually any subject at our community colleges while still in high school, and over 640K students have accessed a range of career courses over 17 career categories that encompass many fields. CNBC ranked Virginia 1st in the nation on 85 different metrics aross 10 categories. We have school choice built into our system. To disrupt the system by siphoning money and resources to privately managed or regional schools that many students cannot reach will negatively disrupt what is already highly successful and more readily available buffet of choices. Please vote no on HB346, HB356, and HB344. Thank you.

Last Name: Jordan Organization: Hanover NAACP Locality: Mechanicsville

We oppose the above listed bills

Last Name: Choate Locality: Henrico

Please pass HB217. Moe can be done to encourage and educate students about opportunities in STEM-C fields and to make sure that educational opportunities in our schools are adequately supporting students pursuing these goals. Identifying the full range of employment opportunities in these areas and the education needed to succeed in them can only be a benefit. Please pass HB221. Please oppose HB344. The establishment of charter schools should remain with local school boards who are accountable to their constituents. Members of the State Board of Education are appointed and consequently are accountable only to those who appointed them. Also, this bill provides that there is no longer the opportunity to revisit the decisions of this State or local boards in granting or continuing such charter. The public should not lose a mechanism of redress already in place. Please oppose HB346. The establishment of charter schools should remain with local school boards who are accountable to their constituents. Extending the establishment of charter and lab schools to private institutions of higher ed and private businesses further removes the oversight of such schools to boards that have no accountability to the public that they serve. Please oppose HB356. The establishment of charter schools should remain with local school boards who are accountable to their constituents. Please oppose HB486. Governor's School admissions should not be constricted by an arbitrary quota of students from one district. Please oppose HB563. While assisting local districts in funding construction where school buildings are in disrepair is a desirable goal, the diversion of funds allocated for instruction should not be institutionalized as a regular mechanism to accomplish this. Please pass HB585. Standardized testing has become the tail that wags the dog in education. Increasing amounts of time are dedicated to teaching towards the test and administering tests to the detriment of education tailored to the needs of students and localities. Reducing such testing the minimum required for federal accountability would free time and resources to more fully meet the needs of students. Please oppose 789. Family life education should remain an opt out program instead of an opt in program. The latter puts an onerous burden on schools for the delivery of this important curriculum. Please oppose HB988. Transgender students deserve equal protection in schools across the Commonwealth. All school districts should maintain certain expectations in this regard. Please pass HB994 Please pass HB1005. This bill stipulates that teachers under continuing contract can resign within the school year but must do so providing 2 weeks of notice. Such a provision provides more time for local school districts to make arrangements for staffing adjustments. Please pass HB1023. Human trafficking is increasingly a problem in the Commonwealth and beyond. Our students should be alert to its threats and educated as to how to protect themselves from it. Please pass HB1026. With technology and the internet playing an increasing role in every aspect of our lives, expanding our understanding of this role and improving education surrounding it can only be a good thing. Please pass HB1299. Our students need as much information as possible about their opportunities after graduating from our public school system.

Last Name: Coleman Locality: Henrico County

Our current schools should be our priority. The charter schools would compete with our public schools for our current tight and limited resources. Another level of administration at a regional level would have a major fiscal impact. Significant personnel for administration, teachers, maintenance, health, safety, and food services would be required even if it is a school with a smaller number of students. It is already difficult to staff our public schools. Funds would be needed for transportation, libraries and books. These standard educational supplies, alone, carry high costs. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession.

Last Name: VanDerhoff Locality: Springfield

I am a public school teacher in Fairfax County and I am writing to urge you to vote no on HB 344, HB 346, and HB 356. These bills divert public money out of our existing public schools and into creating new charter and “laboratory” schools. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure that our public schools are fully-funded. Up until this point, the General Assembly has not even funded the Virginia Board of Education’s Standards of Quality for minimum staffing standards in our public schools (relatedly, I ask that you please vote in favor of HB1135/SB490 so that we can finally fund these minimum recommended staffing standards). The argument in past years has been that fully funding our public schools would be too costly, and yet there are over a dozen bills this session seeking to further deplete state public school funding to divert into private and charter schools. Please protect public school funding by voting no on these bills.

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 HB344, HB346, and HB356 because I support our public schools, because they are impractical and unnecessary, and because this legislation would disenfranchise local communities. We already have good laws that allow establishing charter and lab schools, in ways that preserve local democratic control and don’t rob funding from our public school students. All of these bills would strip power away from our locally elected school boards and hand it over to un-elected regional boards stocked with gubernatorial appointees. These regional charter school boards could override our locally elected school boards and their constituents (us!), duplicating services and forcing taxpayers to fund schools run by national and global for-profit companies that are focused on profits, not education. Allowing these companies to force their schools on us would be harmful across our Commonwealth, especially in rural areas such as where I live. Our public schools are beloved shared public and community institutions. Even if we don’t agree on what should be taught or on masking policies, we can all agree that the parents and citizens who fund our public schools should get to determine how they’re run and by whom. We want fully funded public schools, fairly compensated teachers and staff, and modernized school buildings. Corporate charter schools would drain the resources needed to achieve these goals. Many public school teachers and staff are of their communities, especially in rural areas, with deep knowledge and relationships. Outside charter school operators will bring in non-professional teaching staff and a “we know better” attitude. They pay reduced wages, salaries, and benefits. I hope you will join me in opposing this legislation that will bypass local communities and defund our education-centered public schools.

Last Name: Tarpinian Locality: City of Falls Church

I am against these three bills and against any tax payer funds going to anything other than our public schools that are already underfunded in some areas of the Commonwealth. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession. If parents want to send their children to private, religious, or charter 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. We do not need another level of administration at a regional level to run a parallel set of schools, many that would have a small number of students.

Last Name: Davis Locality: Hamilton

I oppose HB344 & HB356 - please vote no for the following reasons: Our current schools should be our priority. The charter schools would compete with our public schools for our current tight and limited resources. Another level of administration at a regional level would have a major fiscal impact. Significant personnel for administration, teachers, maintenance, health, safety, and food services would be required even if it is a school with a smaller number of students. It is already difficult to staff our public schools. Funds would be needed for transportation, libraries and books. These standard educational supplies, alone, carry high costs. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession.

Last Name: Pullen Locality: Loudoun County

I am writing in opposition to HB344, HB346, HB356. HB344 - It shows the complete dishonesty of the argument, that you want local governing bodies to have expanded rights, except where it serves your purpose. HB346 - Local school boards are best positioned to determine what their students need. The proposed legislation would set up schools that are outside of the local school board purview and therefore outside of accountability to local parents and voters. The bill would allow private institutions and businesses to establish schools. HB356 - Our current schools should be our priority. The charter schools would compete with our public schools for our current tight and limited resources. Another level of administration at a regional level would have a major fiscal impact. Significant personnel for administration, teachers, maintenance, health, safety, and food services would be required even if it is a school with a smaller number of students. It is already difficult to staff our public schools. Funds would be needed for transportation, libraries, and books. These standard educational supplies, alone, carry high costs. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession.

Last Name: Artz Locality: Oakton

Our current schools should be our priority. The charter schools would compete with our public schools for our current tight and limited resources. Another level of administration at a regional level would have a major fiscal impact. Significant personnel for administration, teachers, maintenance, health, safety, and food services would be required even if it is a school with a smaller number of students. It is already difficult to staff our public schools. Funds would be needed for transportation, libraries and books. These standard educational supplies, alone, carry high costs. Our public schools are still not funded at the 2008 level when funds were diverted due to the recession.

Last Name: Layne Locality: Blacksburg

I am writing to oppose any bill that would divert tax dollars from our public schools. Charter schools compete with our existing schools and reduce their ability to meet the needs of the students in their community. Our public schools are underfunded. We need to use our tax dollars to support our existing schools, to pay teachers a living wage, and to provide safe and up to date educational facilities. My sister has taught in Virginia's public schools for 35 years, and her salary is an insult to her professionalism and commitment to her students. Regional charter school divisions and laboratory schools would take control away from local school boards. Private institutions and businesses should not receive tax dollars for education. Thank you.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Please move to report HB344, HB346, HB356, HB789, HB1188, HB221, HB340, HB1125, HB1215, HB988, HB1023, HB1093. Please gently PBI HB486 so that academic merits ONLY decide who gets in.

Last Name: Johnson-Ward Locality: Midlothian

I oppose this bill on the grounds that localities should maintain control of public schools. There is no need for the Board of Education to override School Boards, most of whom are elected in Virginia. This bill removes local control of public schools and undermine the authority of a School Board.

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

Both I, an public school teacher in Fairfax County, and the Virginia Education Association oppose HB 344, 346, and 356. Programs that drain public school budgets, such as vouchers, are a very bad idea. These programs hurt kids, schools, and communities.

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: Corcelius Organization: FEA-VEA-NEA Locality: Fairfax

Greetings legislators, I categorically oppose HB344 and any bill that is pushing vouchers, charters, and the privatization of our public schools. Under current law, the power to grant or deny a public charter school application and enter into an agreement for the establishment of a public charter school rests solely with local school boards— this current law must stay the same. We should be pushing to fund all public schools (and public schools only) in all communities to ensure equitable opportunities for all students. Students should be able to attend their neighborhood/community school and their parents/guardians/family adults should expect the same quality public education and public services across their school district/county and throughout this great commonwealth. Championing vouchers is a way to create enrollment and staffing problems already exacerbated by the pandemic. Vouchers are a way to siphon money from our public schools and to charters and private schools. Virginia is already 4th in the nation for public education. Privatization efforts will run this commonwealth into the ground and hurt public education which will ultimately hurt the futures of our students and our families. Look no further than the District of Columbia to see how charter schools have negatively impacted the public schools. I am afraid this will create a new Massive Resistance here in Virginia. This is just another way to segregate our schools. Please oppose this bill. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment.

Last Name: Andrews Locality: Barboursville

I ask that you categorically oppose HB113 as it Violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution. It establishes a government preference for some religions over others or none. Our public schools exist to educate ALL students and that means students of all religions and no religion. Please oppose or amend HB344. While extending the agency of instituting charter schools to the state at large MAY be a desirable outcome (I remain unconvinced on this but openminded), the ability of local citizens to appeal the decision of the Board should not be removed. Citizens deserve the opportunity to revisit the determination of the Board and to additional information to strengthen their case for or against. Please oppose HB37. Local school boards should retain the decision power re the necessity of SROs. In general I am against the eroding of local control of schools. And in this specific case locations do exist where the presence of LEO’s in the educational setting will be more disrupting than helpful. I ask that you categorically oppose HB4. Schools should absolutely retain the right to determine when misdemeanors committed while in school should be reported to law enforcement. Crimes rising above the misdemeanor level should be required reporting. Please oppose HB8 Schools need fewer guns not more in them.

Last Name: Choate Locality: Henrico

Please oppose HB113. Our public schools exist to educate ALL students and that means students of all religions and no religion. Students should not begin or end their day feeling marginalized by the institution that exists to serve them all. Please oppose or amend HB344. While extending the agency of instituting charter schools to the state at large may be a desirable outcome, the opportunity to appeal the decision of the Board should not be removed. Citizens deserve the opportunity to revisit the determination of the Board and to present a strengthened case. Please oppose HB37. Local school boards should retain the purview to determine if school resource officers are installed in their school based on their citizenry, cultural norms, and level of disruption in the school environment. Many environments exist where the presence of law enforcement in the educational setting will be more disrupting than helpful. Please oppose HB4. Schools should retain the purview to determine when misdemeanors committed while in school should be reported to law enforcement. Crimes are committed in many settings that do not result in the involvement of law enforcement. Staff and teachers who are attempting to build relationships of trust and nurturing with students should not be mandated into law enforcement referrals in instances where pursuing such discipline responses as restorative practices could result in positive and meaningful growth without funneling students into an already robust school to prison pipeline.

End of Comments