Va. Class Sizes Ballooning, Report Says

In Prince William County, middle and high school class sizes have ballooned from 21 kids to 30 kids, and there’s been talk there of ending full-day kindergarten, according to a new report from the Richmond-based Commonwealth Institute. Despite a state budget surplus, it reports, in Norfolk, there are school buildings with deteriorating asbestos tiles and windows with cardboard where panes of glass belong. At Longwood University, state funding per in-state student is $3,062 per year below Virginia’s own estimate for how much the state should pay, leaving the school with little choice but to make it up by charging higher tuition.

Outside Williamsburg, the Jamestown Settlement/Yorktown Victory Center had to eliminate its summer teacher’s institute and cut back on educational outreach after state funding was cut over $900,000. Fewer programs mean 15,000 fewer Virginia schoolchildren will learn about the role of Jamestown and Yorktown in the history of Virginia and the nation.

These are snapshots of the damage done from years of state budget cuts that have shifted costs onto Virginia’s local communities and families, and which, in too many cases, have resulted in declining schools and public services, the report says.