Politifact Virginia: Virginia education budget

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Last week, in the Politifact Virginia report we 'fact-checked' a claim from Senator Donald McEachin on the governor's budget. We ruled that he was 'right' to say Governor McDonnell's plan to push more money to transportation would take money away from education.

That wasn't the only thing Senator McEachin had to say about the governor's budget. Here's what he said, in response to the governor's State of the Commonwealth.

"Overall in this, his first budget, the governor is cutting pre-K and K-12 education by hundreds of millions of dollars," said Sen. McEachin.

Is that true? Could hundreds of millions of dollars be taken away from education? He was right, last week. This week, Senator McEachin's claim is false. 
In raw numbers…the math works out in the governor's favor. His current budget proposal boosts funding by nearly 500 million. But, democrats argue a big chunk of that will have to go directly to pension plans. Even if you take pension costs out, the difference leaves an additional 155 million bucks for schools.

So, what's the basis of McEachin's claim? He argues, that new standards imposed by McDonnell -- will force local school districts to pay for things they aren't traditionally used to ponying up for.

According to Politifact Reporter Warren Fiske that's a bit of a leap, and it doesn't come close to meaning a cut of millions of dollars for education in Virginia.

"What it essentially means is that localities will be forced to spend a greater portion of their budgets on paying teacher pensions, but it doesn't mean they are going to have to slash their budgets. They're going to have to find a way to work it into their budgets somehow," said Fiske.

You can see all the information behind this week's Politifact Virginia report on their web site, www.politifactvirginia.com.

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