Public Comments for: HB346 - College partnership laboratory schools; application and establishment.
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: Dopp Organization: Retired Locality: WILLIAMSBURG

As a VA taxpayer for over 50 years, I write to oppose the diversion of money from our excellent public schools to new, state sponsored charter schools. Such schools reduce the autonomy of local school districts in favor of "big government" and would require another costly layer of administration, including that needed for transportation, support staff, etc. Virginia's public schools, despite funding deficits, rank high (#4 or 5, as rated by non-partisan agencies World Population Review and Wallet Hub) nationally and make our Commonwealth attractive to businesses. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." What is to be accomplished by this bill? Local school boards are best able to decide what is needed for that district's students. That is where I want my tax dollars spent. HB346 is a non-starter.

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: Harrington Locality: Williamsburg

Comments Document

The purpose of my comments are to OPPOSE HB 346.

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: Cannon Locality: FREDERICKSBURG

Dear Members of the Education Committee, I respectfully wish to oppose HR356. 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. Please do not destroy or dilute our public schools effectiveness by further taking needed funding away and giving it to duplicate and divisive systems. I support all available funding be used to renew America's public school system.

Last Name: DiSesa Organization: The Middle Resolution and the Virginia Education Opportunity Alliance Locality: Ashland

We strongly support HB346! This last election demonstrated that parents want more options for educating their children. They rejected the attempt by school boards and politicians to prevent parents from engaging in their child's public education. It is time for politicians on both sides of isle to start listening to parents.

Last Name: Caywood Organization: retired Locality: Virginia Beach

I am opposed to HB346. This is yet another bill that seeks to stifle my voice as a voter and taxpayer by setting up a complicated governing structure at several removes from the people whose taxes are paying the bills. I urge you to vote against all these bills that dis-empower voters and elected school governance.

Last Name: Ross Locality: Arlington

I do not support this bill. 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: 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

Local school boards are best positioned to determine their students' needs. 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. Didn't Gov Youngkin's campaign indicate that parents would be able to determine what their children are taught? How does HB346 meet this promise?

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: 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: Meader Locality: Goochland

I oppose House Bills 344 and 356 because they support charter schools. Charter schools take funding away from public schools, and there is no evidence that they produce better educational outcomes. At a time when the funding and staffing of public schools is a problem, the allocation of funds to charter schools is not an educational decision but a political sop to a vocal constituency.

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

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: 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 HB346 for the following reasons - please vote NO! 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: 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: 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: 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 legislation and any other legislation that opens the door for private charter schools to move into Virginia. HBCU's Lab Schools should be fully funded via the existing Lab School laws and policy.

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: Ghidotti Organization: Radford University Locality: Richmond

Radford University has a proud history of preparing teachers for schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1910. Our existing educator preparation programs, which are fully accredited by CAEP and approved by the Virginia Department of Education, prepares educators for early childhood, special education, elementary education, middle education, and secondary education. The University is committed to growing the teaching workforce and welcomes the opportunity to partner with school divisions to explore an array of innovative education opportunities, including college partnership laboratory schools. We support the provisions in HB 346 that expands eligibility for all public and private institutions of higher education; and investment by the Commonwealth to support the establishment of college partnership laboratory schools.

Last Name: Morgan Locality: Henrico

Dear Education Committee Members: My name is Frank Morgan. I am a retired educator who spent 43 years working in public school districts in Virginia and South Carolina, including 16 years as a superintendent I have a fair amount of experience with charter schools. I was very involved in Albemarle County in the development of one of the first local charter school policies in Virginia around 2000 and in the establishment of one of the first charter schools in the state shortly thereafter. I also worked with a charter school in the district in South Carolina where I served as superintendent. That said, there is no research out there that indicates that charter schools are overall any more or less successful than regular public schools. There are good ones and not-so-good ones, just like with regular public schools. The front-page publicity on January 28 in The Richmond Times-Dispatch about Governor Youngkin’s charter school proposal requires, I believe, some cautionary caveats. Governor Youngkin asserts that his advocacy for charter schools is connected to increased ‘choice”. Consequently, any expansion of charter schools in Virginia must reflect legitimate and realistic “choice” for families. This means that charter schools must be subject to fully open or lottery-based enrollment and be required to serve economically disadvantaged, special needs, and non-English-speaking students. Publicly funded charter schools must also be required to provide no-cost transportation given that transportation is often a barrier to economically disadvantaged students attending “schools of choice”. In the absence of these requirements, charter schools will simply be “choice” for charter schools to cherry-pick the students they want and exclude the ones they don’t. I would hope this is not the vision involved. Further, charter schools must be subject to the same academic accountability and state testing requirements as regular public schools. Otherwise, how will measurable and valid comparisons be drawn? Parent satisfaction and teacher grades should not be the sole accountability barometers for charter schools unless regular public schools can also be judged solely by these measures. Finally, charter schools must be subject to the same due process requirements as regular public schools. Especially given that they would be publicly funded, charter schools must not be permitted to exclude a student because of low achievement or minor behavioral issues. Regular public schools can’t exclude students for these reasons. In addition, charter schools must be subject to the same stringent financial (auditing) oversight as regular public school divisions in Virginia. I googled “charter schools/financial mismanagement/scandal” and got almost 5 million hits, which clearly indicates the nationwide seriousness of this issue. Such oversight is particularly important if corporate interests become involved in managing charter schools. The private sector has some history of financial missteps when involved with charter schools. Thank you for the opportunity to provide this feedback. Dr, Frank E. Morgan 2002 Deep Ridge Court Henrico, VA 23233 (803) 572-2591

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

Both I (a public school teacher in Fairfax County) and the Virginia Education Association OPPOSE HB346 and HB356. VEA is against the creation of any type of charter schools. Charter schools are bad for students and community, because they are so unregulated, and they take needed dollars away from our public schools.

Last Name: Fulcher Organization: Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition Locality: Chesterfield

Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition supports this bill.

End of Comments