VIRGINIA: "Students have more behavioral/emotional needs"; more funds needed

Jan 24, 2020, Williamsburg, VA, Virginia Gazette: WJCC asks for more ESL, special education teachers at budget retreat, shortfall could grow to $2 million Some students are needier than ever before, but the General Assembly hasn’t indicated it will bridge the funding gap between what is needed to educate students and what it provides, according to a presentation given to the School Board Tuesday night. WJCC staff expect to spend about $2 million more money than they’ll bring in — a budget shortfall as the division waits for more information from the General Assembly and local governments on the final amount of their funding to the division. That includes nearly $1.2 million more in spending than when staff initially briefed the school board on mandatory spending increases in December. The state will require the division to spend $5,477,175 more in the next fiscal year to meet new or increased educational requirements. On top of the mandatory spending increases, the division would like to spend an additional $1,875,150 on its own priorities…. Working with needier students means the division will need to provide more services and use more resources to educate them. That’ll cost money…. Further, students have more behavioral and emotional needs that affect their school experience, according to the division’s senior director for student services Stephanie Bourgeois. For the last five years the school staff has worked to implement a plan to support students’ needs directly — staffers will meet with struggling students and intervene if a student isn’t on a path to successfully complete their schooling. … The division also wants to hire two behavior intervention specialists and an ESL family outreach specialist, according to the presentation. The total cost for the four positions will be $345,000….