Due to the popularity of the proposed “Tebow” bill and the proposed teacher contract bill, I have heard very little about HB 365 which is a bill to amend and reenact § 22.1-277 of the Code of Virginia, relating to compulsory public education; student suspension or expulsion from school. If passed, the superintendent of each school division must “ensure that any student who has been suspended or expelled from school continues to receive an education.” HB 365 was referred to the Committee of Education on January 10, 2012 and assigned to a sub-committee on January 13, 2012. It has since been continued to 2013.
What I find most interesting about the work that has been completed thus far is the Estimate of Local Fiscal Impact statement that I found in LIS. From what I can tell, 10 localities submitted their estimates of the fiscal impact on their divisions if HB 365 were to pass. These localities include the counties of Campbell, Carroll, Rappahannock, and Spotsylvania; the cities of Danville, Radford, and Richmond; the towns of Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Hillsville. Five respondents (including Spotsylvania) indicated that they did not foresee this causing an increase in expenditures. Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Hillsville incicated that they do not operate school systems. However the remaining localites indicated potential expenditures ranging from $5000 - $2,000,000! Guess who had the highest….Richmond City! I would be interested in knowing how many students they suspend/expel in a given year (on average).
Reading this information made me think about what my division currently provides for suspended or expelled students. HB 365 would require that divisions either increase staff to comply or use an on-line learning module (which we currently have in place but use for a different purpose). I can’t imagine that it would impact us in the range of millions of dollars because we are not as large as other divisions, but we would still feel an impact. Realistically, the number of expulsions or long-term suspensions in a particular division would drive the potential fiscal impact. I think that this could easily be implemented in a small division like mine, but I would need more information on the accountability piece (on the part of the student) before I could say whether I agree or disagree with the idea.