Gov. Northam Proposes $250 Million ARPA Allocation to Fund HVAC Upgrades for Virginia Schools

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

Governor Ralph Northam is proposing that Virginia legislators use $250 million of Virginia’s American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds for HVAC upgrades in the Commonwealth’s schools. He announced the proposal on Monday, a week before the Virginia General Assembly is scheduled to meet to allocate the ARPA funds.

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Family Foundation Lawsuit over Virginia Transgender Policy Has Hearing for Injunction

Two organizations asked the Lynchburg Circuit Court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) temporarily blocking implementation of legally-mandated transgender policies in school boards across Virginia. On Wednesday, they argued that while a lawsuit over the policy proceeds, school boards are implementing the policies which, they said, could be harmful to children.

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Botetourt School Board Disavows Critical Race Theory

The Botetourt County Public Schools (BCPS) Board disavowed Critical Race Theory (CRT) in its July 8 meeting, saying CRT was not being taught in the school. After public comment, Chair Anna Weddle read a statement supported by all five board members.

“[BCPS] has not and will not be teaching [CRT]. The term is not mentioned in standards, nor in curriculum. This includes the current standards and those standards that will be taught beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. Collectively, we do not support [CRT] in K-12 education in Botetourt County,” the statement said.

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Virginia Family Foundation Sues over New Transgender Public School Guidelines

The Family Foundation is suing the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) over its Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools. The model policies took effect March 6, 2021, and school boards must adopt policies consistent with the model by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. However, the Family Foundation says there are legal problems with the policies and that the VDOE did not properly address comments made during a legally required public comment phase.

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Governor Northam Approves Cultural Competency Requirement for Virginia Teacher’s Licenses

Governor Ralph Northam approved legislation on Thursday to require cultural competency training for educators to be licensed by the Virginia Board of Education. HB 1904, introduced by Delegate Clinton Jenkins (D-Suffolk), and companion SB 1196, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton,) require that anyone seeking licensure or re-licensure must complete cultural competency training by the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. Licenses with social science or history endorsements require additional training in African American history.

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State Senators Dunnavant, Petersen Call for Education Reserve Corps to Address Looming School Staffing Shortage in Virginia

Citing school staffing shortages, Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) are proposing the creation of an Education Reserve Corps in Virginia.

“As we’ve known, other than getting people vaccinated and keeping them alive, the most important issue, and we’ve been consistent about this, is reopening schools,” Petersen said on the Senate floor on Monday. He pointed to staffing parallels in the medical field.

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