Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here.
But first …
The day is here to get to the polls. If you need any last minute guidance on where to vote, acceptable forms of ID and/or what to do if you happen to forget your ID, check out Dogwood’s voter guide here.
Five things you need to know today …
- Polling places misprinted ballots, ran out of them, gave voters the wrong one– A Richmond precinct ran out of ballots by 8 a.m. this morning, signaling high turnout in closely watched state elections that could give Democrats control of the General Assembly. Elsewhere in the state, more run-of-the-mill election issues emerged: Some Stafford County voters got ballots with the wrong races , and ballots were misprinted in parts of Prince William county. —The Dogwood, WTOP
- Virginia’s literacy rates fall– New data from the federal government shows Virginia students’ literacy scores have fallen to a 15-year low. The National Assessment of Education Progress results revealed that only one-third of eighth graders and less than 40% of fourth graders are at proficient reading levels. Virginia isn’t alone, scores have fallen nationwide. State education leaders, who said they are unsure of the precise cause for the drop, are pushing for $36 million in funds to go toward reading specialists. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Mental health issues in Lynchburg-area jail– One-in-three inmates at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority facilities have some sort of mental illness. According to the Virginia Compensation Board, 16% of 169 inmates have a “serious mental illness” which includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and PTSD. Those numbers are significantly higher than averages from other prisons in the state. Standard of care can vary wildly from jail to jail as there’s no “legally mandated minimum standards or mental health care required.” –The News & Advance
- Principal begged for Norfolk School District for help– Sherwood Forest Elementary principal Cheryl Jordan had been asking for help for weeks before the school district notified parents of the school’s poor condition. The notice they sent did not mention reported illnesses from the staff and students. But by that point, exterminators had already told Jordan they’d found several years worth of mold, rat feces and urine in the building. Teachers said in interviews that this was evidence that the school district wasn’t taking the issue seriously. –The Virginian-Pilot
- Virginia to change financial aid packages for higher ed— Virginia is changing both how it calculates and distributes need-based aid to colleges in the state.The changes come as the student population has more people pursuing degrees over the age of 25 and holding down a job at the same time. The changes are expected to increase state contributions for low and middle-income students. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia is calling for the state to add an additional $45 million in aid to the $223 million already allocated for the next two years. –Inside Higher Ed