Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced Friday that he would add nearly $60 million for schools to the budget plan he unveiled just weeks ago, the bulk of it to shrink class sizes in the earliest grades.
The amendments include $47 million to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, $8.2 million to expand an early reading intervention program, and nearly $4 million for youth development and information-technology academies.
“To guarantee every young person in the state the opportunity they deserve to succeed, we must provide them with the world-class education they need,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement. “We are doing that by combining smart, targeted increases in state funding with a focus on providing more accountability, innovation and choice in our public schools.”
Democrats criticized McDonnell’s original budget proposal despite the increase in spending, in part because 324 of it would go to shore up the teacher retirement system.
They’ve also objected to McDonnell’s plan to withhold inflation increases from schools and to divert a portion of sales tax revenue toward transportation and away from education and other core services.