Politifact Virginia: Standards of Quality Funding

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Education funding is a constant battle at the General Assembly and as such, claims about just how much is being spent, or cut are thrown out on a regular basis.

Like this one from Kitty Boitnott from the Virginia Education Association. She said, "Since the 2008 General Assembly, we have permanently cut biennial funding for public education by $1.6 billion through changes in the standards of quality funding formula."

That seems to be quite a bit, but according to the reporters at Politifact Virginia Boitnott's claim is "mostly true".

First let's explain what she is talking about. Virginia has a law that requires a "Standards of Quality" for school funding. Those standards are set by the GA every two years. The standard is based on student-teacher ratio. The VEA analyzed a report from the Senate Finance Committee that outlined 10 program cuts that amounted to 1.57 billion dollars. She attributed all of those to the SOQ cuts.

But her analysis was off just a bit. She included those 10 specific areas of cuts and attributed them to the SOQ cuts. According to the Department of Education only six of those items can be counted as part of the minimum standard reductions. That is a difference of 174 million dollars. The actual figure is around 1.4 billion. But that cut doesn't *have to be* permanent says Politifact Virginia Reporter Sean Gorman.

"Well the General Assembly can always go back to one of these standards of quality changes, and technically, they can always go back and change it back, however we asked the Department of Education if that has ever happened. The Virginia Department of Education told us they can't think of an instance where that has happened," said Gorman.

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

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