Action Alerts

2017 VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

VSBA Legislative Update Blog

For up-to-the-minute Action Alerts during the 2017 Virginia General Assembly, please visit the VSBA Legislative Update Blog.


August 2016 Action Alert

The Time is Right to Engage Your Legislators

Your elected officials are in office to represent your views on important issues. To help them represent your interests, you must share your views and present them with facts and data. We know that hearing from just a handful of concerned citizens will cause a legislator to pay attention to a particular issue. There are a number of different ways to advocate for your views. You can call, write, email, or schedule a visit at their office. However, the more personal your advocacy contact is, the more effective it will be.

As summer starts to wind down, the time is right to engage your legislators. The 2017 General Assembly session will be here before you know it. Discussions on the budget and potential legislators have already begun so it’s important to build a relationship, have an open dialogue and share your personal experiences about public education. Over the next few weeks, we ask that you take time to schedule a meeting or phone call with your local legislator(s). Discuss your concerns about funding, the increased need for local flexibility, reducing unfunded mandates and other division challenges.

To help you with your advocacy efforts, we put together the attached one-pager that outlines our tips for successful advocacy as well as a sample advocacy action plan. We encourage you to utilize this document when preparing for your meetings with legislators in August or early September and when discussing your year-round advocacy plan with your school board colleagues.

 Thank you for taking the time to advocate for your students and teachers. Your voice can make a difference in your schools and in Richmond as legislators make decisions that impact you. 


APRIL 2016 ACTION ALERT

Thank Your Legislators

Just a few weeks ago, the 2016 General Assembly finished their legislative and budgetary work. We know that you have heard us say this several times already but we’re going to say it again, thank you to each and every one of you for all of your advocacy efforts. Your voice was heard loud and clear in Richmond and it made a big difference! 

Overall, it was a successful year. We were able to defeat several troublesome bills including the charter school constitutional amendment. There were a few troublesome bills that did pass the House and Senate, but rest assured that we are still working to defeat them.

Now that the legislators have left the Capital and returned to their districts, we need your help once again. We ask that over the next few weeks you call, write, or email your local legislators to say THANK YOU for their service and hard work in Richmond, especially on the biennial budget. Spring is the best time to build or continue to build good working relationships with your representatives, and a simple 'thank you' will go a long way. You can find the contact information for your Senators here and your Delegates here.

Thank you again for your continued support of VSBA and our advocacy initiatives. Take a few minutes to advocate for your students, teachers, and community. 


2016 Virginia General Assembly

VSBA Legislative Update Blog

For up-to-the-minute Action Alerts during the 2016 Virginia General Assembly, please visit the VSBA Legislative Update Blog.


DECEMBER 2015 ACTION ALERT 2

Share the VSBA Legislative Priorities

On Friday, the VSBA Board of Directors approved the 2016 Legislative Priorities. These priorities focus on key areas like funding and flexibility, local control, challenged schools, student learning, and implementation of statewide health insurance option. Before January 8th, we ask that you take time to share VSBA’s Legislative Priorities with your local legislators. You can call, write, email, or schedule a visit at their office. Hearing from concerned citizens and local officials will cause a legislator to pay attention to a particular issue and encourage him or her to lend their support. Decisions on the budget and potential legislation are already in full swing so it’s important to have an open dialogue and share your personal stories about these priorities now!

In addition to sharing these priorities, we encourage you to sign-up for the 2016 VSBA Capital Conference February 10th and 11th. The Capital Conference offers you an opportunity to be seen and heard by your legislators in Richmond. You’ll also hear directly from decision makers and receive an update on the budget and pending legislation. You can register for the Capital Conference by clicking here.

Thank you for your continued support of VSBA and our advocacy initiatives. Your voice makes a difference in your schools, community and in Richmond as legislators make decisions that impact you. Take a few minutes to advocate for your students and share these priorities with your legislators BEFORE they travel to Richmond!

PS – Don’t forget to join VSBA and your school board colleagues across the Commonwealth by signing the petition to tell your legislators to vote NO on the charter school constitutional amendment: https://www.change.org/p/help-our-schools-keep-local-education-resources-within-local-control

Thank you for your continued support of VSBA and our legislative and advocacy initiatives.  Your voice makes a difference in Richmond as legislators make decisions that impact your school division.


DECEMBER 2015 ACTION ALERT 1

We Need Your Help NOW!

As you know, we are less than two months away from the start of the 2016 General Assembly session. It’s going to be another tough year for public education with the always challenging biennial budget process and several pieces of school choice legislation. We want to bring one piece of legislation to your attention now, the charter school constitutional amendment. The proposed constitutional amendment would divest local school boards of the sole authority to approve charter schools by vesting authority with the Virginia Board of Education, a gubernatorial appointed board. We believe that local school boards are best equipped to assess the needs of their students and the locality, including the creation of charter schools.

After passing through the General Assembly last year, we know that many lawmakers will be making a push to pass it again this year so that it will appear on the ballot in November. We expect the vote on this legislation to be very close and contentious so we need your help NOW! We have drafted talking points and created a petition to the members of the Senate that outline our opposition to this legislation. We encourage you to share your opposition to this legislation with your local legislators and ask them to OPPOSE the charter school constitutional amendment. We also ask that you join VSBA and your school board colleagues across the Commonwealth by signing the petition to tell your legislators to vote NO on the charter school constitutional amendment to help keep our local education resources within local control. You can virtually sign the petition by visiting: https://www.change.org/p/help-our-schools-keep-local-education-resources-within-local-control

Talking Points Document

Thank you for your continued support of VSBA and our legislative and advocacy initiatives. Your voice makes a difference in Richmond as legislators make decisions that impact your school division.


OCTOBER 2015 ACTION ALERT

Engage the Business Community as your Partners in Education 

We have all heard the statistics; the United States has a skills deficit in our workforce. We’ve also heard administration officials and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce often speak about attracting businesses to the Commonwealth and the importance that education plays in economic development. It’s time to engage the business community as these leaders can be key partners in education. If they are appropriately informed, they can serve as advocates for your school division within your community and fellow business owners.

Over the next month, we encourage you to meet with your Chamber of Commerce, economic development association and local business owners. Invite them to attend and present at your school board meeting to share their work, visit your schools to highlight your CTE programs, or host a business roundtable. Discuss your successes and challenges, provide information so they can share your message about public education, look for ways that they can partner with your students and schools and listen to their needs as local business owners. Whether it’s providing financial resources for a specific program, mentoring students, or being a vocal supporter of public education, business leaders can make a positive impact. To assist with your advocacy efforts, please utilize the attached budget priorities document as well as the VSBA Grassroots Advocacy Guide for additional policy topics to discuss and good questions to ask when engaging with business leaders.

Just a quick reminder that November is Take Your Legislator to School Month. This year, the VSBA encourages school divisions to choose an area of focus for your legislative visits. For example, you may decide to have “VSBA Take Your Legislator to CTE School” Month or "VSBA Take Your Legislator to Blended Learning School" Month. This will allow you to emphasize particular aspects of the division that you are most proud of or wish to highlight. To learn more about Take Your Legislator to School Month check out the 2015 VSBA Resource Guide.

Your voice makes a difference for your students and your schools. Take just a few minutes to advocate for your students and engage with local business leaders now!


AUGUST 2015 ACTION ALERT

Share Key Funding Priorities

For many years now our school divisions have faced tight budget times. During the recession of 2008, lawmakers made changes to the education funding formula to help balance the state budget. These changes put additional pressure on localities to provide more funding or required local school boards to make tough budget cuts. Further, the recession increased the number of economically disadvantaged students to over 512,000 students, leaving our schools to serve a more diverse student population with fewer resources.

In December Governor McAuliffe will unveil his first biennial budget. Even though it’s only August, the budgetary process is already underway. Last week, VSBA met with Governor McAuliffe and members of his administration to discuss the critical importance of fully funding public education. We’re also in the process of meeting with members of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees and working with key stakeholder organizations to coordinate efforts. Even with these advocacy efforts, we need your help to spread this important message.

Some of our key funding priorities include targeted funding for educational technology infrastructure, reducing class-size, providing high-quality professional development, and the restoration of state funding for support positions. We know that these are just a few of the key funding priorities across our schools and we would encourage you to share stories about how budget cuts directly impact your division. Over the next six weeks, we ask that you review the attached budget information and take time to share this one-pager and corresponding data (click here to download) with business and community leaders, parents, and your local legislators.

In addition to sharing these budget priorities, we encourage you to sign-up for the 2015 Legislative Advocacy Conference on September 10th. This conference will focus on legislative and advocacy topics to better prepare you for the 2016 General Assembly session including early childhood education and a budget outlook. You’ll also hear directly from General Assembly leaders in the always-popular legislators’ panel on state education issues.

Thank you for your continued support of VSBA and our advocacy initiatives! Please stay tuned for more information about the budget and legislative process. Your voice makes a difference in your schools, community and in Richmond. Take a few minutes to advocate for your students, teachers, and community and share these budget priorities.


DECEMBER 2014 ACTION ALERT

Share the VSBA Legislative Priorities 

We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the 2015 General Assembly session, kicking off January 14th. On Friday, the VSBA Board of Directors approved the VSBA 2015 Legislative Priorities. These priorities focus on key areas like funding and flexibility, challenged schools, student learning, and increased local option.

Over the next few weeks, we ask that you take time to share the VSBA 2015 Legislative Priorities with your local legislators. You can call, write, email, or schedule a visit at their office. Hearing from concerned citizens and local officials will cause a legislator to pay attention to a particular issue and encourage him or her to lend their support. Decisions on the budget and potential legislation are in full swing so it’s important to have an open dialogue and share your personal stories about these priorities and public education.

In addition to sharing these priorities, we encourage you to sign-up for the 2015 VSBA Capital Conference January 26th and 27th. The Capital Conference offers you an opportunity before crossover to be seen and heard by your legislators and receive an update on the budget and pending legislation. You can register for the Capital Conference by clicking here.

Thank you for your continued support of VSBA and our legislative initiatives. Your voice makes a difference in your schools, community and in Richmond as legislators make decisions that impact you. Take a few minutes to advocate for your students and share these priorities with your legislators now!


OCTOBER 2014 ACTION ALERT

Engage Business Leaders as Partners in Education

We have all heard the statistics; the United States has a skills deficit in our workforce. Administration officials and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce often speak about attracting businesses to the Commonwealth and the importance that education plays in economic development. We must continue to improve the quality of our workforce to maintain our competitive position within an ever-changing, fast-paced global economy. Business leaders can be key partners in education. If they are appropriately informed, they can serve as advocates for your school division with your community and fellow business owners.

Over the next month, take time to meet with your Chamber of Commerce, economic development association and local business owners. Invite them to attend and present at your school board meeting to share their work, or visit your schools to highlight your CTE programs. Discuss your successes and challenges, provide information so they can share your message about public education, look for ways that they can partner with your students and schools and listen to their needs as local business owners. Whether it’s providing financial resources for a specific program, mentoring students, or being a vocal supporter of public education, business leaders can make a positive impact. To assist with your advocacy efforts, please utilize the VSBA Grassroots Advocacy Guide for policy topics to discuss and good questions to ask when engaging with business leaders.

Just a quick reminder that November is Take Your Legislator to School Month. During your advocacy meetings this month, we encourage you to invite your legislators to visit your school division in November. This year, the VSBA encourages school divisions to choose an area of focus for your legislative visits. For example, you may decide to have “VSBA Take Your Legislator to CTE School Month” or “VSBA Take Your Legislator to STEM School Month”. This will allow you to emphasize particular aspects of the division that you are most proud of or wish to highlight. To learn more about Take Your Legislator to School Month check out the 2014 VSBA Guide.

Your voice can make a difference in your schools, community and in Richmond. Take just a few minutes to advocate for your students and engage with local business leaders now!


SEPTEMBER 2014 ACTION ALERT

Time to engage your legislators 

You have elected legislators into office to represent your views on important issues. To help them do their job, citizens must share their opinions and thoughts with their representatives. Hearing from a handful of concerned citizens will cause a legislator to pay attention to a particular issue and encourage him or her to lend their support. There are a number of different ways to advocate for your views. You can call, write, email, or schedule a visit at their office. However, the more personal your advocacy contact is, the more effective it will be.

With just over four months until the start of the 2015 General Assembly session, now is the time to engage with your legislators. Decisions on the budget and potential legislation have already begun so it’s important to build a relationship, have an open dialogue, and share your personal stories about public education. Over the next few weeks, we ask that you take time to schedule a meeting or phone call with your local legislator. Encourage your board to host a luncheon with all your legislators and school board or a joint townhall meeting. Discuss your concerns about funding, increased need for local flexibility, reducing unfunded mandates and other division challenges. Don’t forget to utilize the VSBA Grassroots Advocacy Guide for policy topics to discuss and good questions to ask when engaging with legislators. 

Just a quick reminder that November is Take Your Legislator to School Month. During your advocacy meetings this month, we encourage you to invite your legislators to visit your school division in November. This year, the VSBA encourages school divisions to choose an area of focus for your legislative visits. For example, you may decide to have “VSBA Take Your Legislator to CTE School Month” or “VSBA Take Your Legislator to STEM School Month”. This will allow you to emphasize particular aspects of the division that you are most proud of or wish to highlight. To learn more about Take Your Legislator to School Month check out the 2014 VSBA Guide.

Your voice can make a difference in your schools, community and in Richmond as legislators make decisions that impact you. Take a few minutes to advocate for your students and engage with your legislators now!


AUGUST 2014 ACTION ALERT

Back-to-School: Engage your parents

Parental involvement is one of the most important factors in a child’s education. Parent’s who set high expectations for their child’s educational achievements and monitor their child’s learning process inspire their children to get excited about academics. Children who are motivated to learn behave better in school and have higher attendance rates, which inevitably enables the teachers to spend more time on classroom instruction.

As our students and teachers start back to school, it’s a great time to engage parents in their child’s learning, the work of your school board, and advocate for their continued support of public education. Over the next month, we ask that you take time to meet with parents and your local PTA/PTO’s, and especially those hard-to-reach parents. You can engage your parents by opening lines of communication, discussing successes in your schools, and listening to what they see as challenges. Utilize back-to-school nights, Saturday mornings at the soccer field, and social media to have these important conversations. We've even seen one local school board member hold “office hours” where they allow community members to express their ideas and concerns. Consider employing community-based organizations, like faith-based organizations, local Head Start programs, and homeless shelters, to help disseminate information and materials.

Parental engagement is a key to the success of your students and your schools. They can be your best advocate in your schools and in your community. Take a few minutes to engage them now!

Don’t forget to utilize the VSBA Grassroots Advocacy Guide for policy topics to discuss and good questions to ask when engaging with parents.