Northam announced the budget request with a speech at Richmond’s Huguenot High School. He said the intention is to reaffirm Virginia’s commitment to education equity and close the achievement gap in urban and rural schools faced by students of color, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.
If approved, Northam’s plan would set aside $140.4 million to boost the “at-risk add-on” — an existing state program that distributes funding to school districts with educationally at-risk students.
Teachers would also receive a 3% pay increase during the second year of the budget with a $145.1 million investment.
Another $10.6 million will go toward covering the costs of reduced meals for families who qualify. Instructional support for English language will see $27.6 million in funding. And an additional $99.3 million will allow for more counselors within the school system.
The largest share of the proposed budget hike — $808.5 million — will support rebenchmarking, a routine reassessment of the state’s contributions to local schools.
Last week, Northam also unveiled a tuition-free community college program, “Get skilled, Get a Job, Give back,” which would allocate $145 million for low- and middle-income students who qualify.
See a video of the announcement below: