Youngkin signs compromise budget into law, Dems largely secure education funds

Budget Signing

A screenshot from the livestream of Gov. Glenn Youngkin signing Virginia's new budget into law on May 13, 2024. (Courtesy of Governor of Virginia's Facebook page)

A screenshot from the livestream of Gov. Glenn Youngkin signing Virginia's new budget into law on May 13, 2024. (Courtesy of Governor of Virginia's Facebook page)

By Michael O'Connor

May 13, 2024

After months of sparring between Democrats in the General Assembly and Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia localities can breathe easier now that the state has finalized its budget.

Virginia lawmakers finally passed a compromise budget today that broadly maintains many Democratic spending priorities for things like education.

The Virginia General Assembly met in Richmond today in a special session to approve a budget compromise Democratic leaders reached with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin last week. Youngkin signed the bill later in the day.

The two-year budget passed by the General Assembly includes more than $2 billion in direct aid for K-12 schools in Virginia. The education funding includes annual 3% raises for teachers and $72 million for English learner services.

“Between the beginning of March and now to get to this point there have been some interesting twists and turns, but we have still ended up with funding that prioritizes the citizens of the commonwealth,” said Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair L. Louise Lucas from the Senate floor Monday.

While Democrats celebrated the budget, some liberal groups pointed out education funding fell short of the recommendations from a 2023 report by the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee. And even with the increased teacher pay, Virginia teachers will still lag the national average. Virginia teachers will make an average of $65,731 a year under the new budget, while the national teacher pay average is expected to be $69,965, according to the Virginia Education Association.

The compromise budget signed into law Monday did not include an extra $169 million for education that would have been funded by a digital sales tax that did not make it into the final version of the budget.

“By only meeting 4% of the JLARC funding recommendations and falling further behind the national teacher pay average in this budget, lawmakers must find sustainable ways to increase revenue to meet our critical K-12 funding needs and fulfill their promises,” said Dr. James Fedderman, president of the Virginia Education Association, in a statement.

  • Michael O'Connor

    Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering Virginia news since 2013 with reporting stints at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Business, and Richmond BizSense. A graduate of William & Mary and Northern Virginia Community College, he also covered financial news for S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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