The Viriginia Senate pushed off until Tuesday a vote on a measure that would allow a newly created body to take over failing Virginia schools.
Senators had been scheduled to vote on it Monday, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The measure would allow a state entity to take over schools that are not accredited or have been accredited with warning, including schools such as Alexandria's Jefferson-Houston and others.
Meanwhile, another effort by Del. Gregory Habeeb (R-Salem) to amend the Virginia Constitution to allow this proposed statewide school division to take over struggling schools is likely dead for the year, according to the newspaper.
Habeeb is also the author of the legislation that has many in the Alexandria community in an uproar. State Del. Rob Krupicka, a former Board of Education member, had harsh criticism for the bill.
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The Alexandria PTA Council Feb. 15 sent a letter to the Parent Teacher Association members (PDF) asking for their support in opposing the legislation.
“While we support the goal of improving the quality of education for all, this legislation would transfer local authority and local taxpayer funding for certain schools to a vaguely defined state entity that would not be accountable to the parents in the communities in which the schools reside,” reads the letter, signed by PTA presidents of local schools.
It also highlights Old Town's Jefferson-Houston, which is not accredited.
“Just as we are about to break ground on a badly-needed new facility for the Jefferson-Houston K-8 school, ACPS has brought in a team of outside consultants, at the request of state officials but at the expense of Alexandria taxpayers, that is working with both the school administration and the PTA," say the letter's authors. "The most recent data on student achievement indicates that the school is on a positive trajectory, and it would be foolish and wasteful for this new state entity to force us to abandon these efforts before they have had a chance to succeed fully.”