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November 23, 2010
On Friday, November 12, VEA Government Relations Director Robley Jones and VBEA President Dominic Melito met with Delegate Bob Tata to discuss the VEA Legislative Agenda for the upcoming General Assembly session. During their discussion, Delegate Tata shared the results of his 2010 Constituents survey with Jones and Melito. One key question on the survey was “Are Virginia teachers underpaid?” According to the survey results, 66% of the constituents in Delegate Tata’s district responded “yes.”
With that in mind, Delegate Tata agreed not only to support item 2 of the VEA legislative agenda- which calls for the state to provide funding for a 3 percent increase for school board employees- he agreed to introduce a budget amendment in the House of Delegates. The VEA had recently sent a “cyberlobbyist alert” asking all members of the General Assembly to support the 3 percent increase. (After speaking with the House Appropriations Committee since his meeting with Melito and Jones, Delegate Tata may modify the language to ask for a 3% bonus in order to get the amendment passed.)
Another vital item on the VEA Legislative Agenda is item 3, calling for a JLARC Study on School Funding. (JLARC is the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the research arm of the General Assembly.) The last JLARC Study on school funding led to the Tax Reform of 2004, increasing school funding in Virginia by over one billion dollars! Delegate Tata agreed to co-sponsor the bill with State Senator Charles Colgan.
Finally, Delegate Tata agreed to vote against any efforts to supplant the Federal Teacher Jobs money by taking away state funding. The VEA is very appreciative of Delegate Tata’s work for, and continued support of, school employees and public education in Virginia.
Thank you, Delegate Tata!!