Delegate Keam Receives Award from Teachers
Teachers Honor Keam
Del Mark Keam (D-35) named Rookie of the YearTuesday, June 08, 2010
Based on his record of strong support for public education, the Virginia Education Association named Del. Mark Keam (D-35) a "Rookie of the Year." VEA is a public education advocacy group with more than 60,000 members throughout the Commonwealth. The award was presented to Keam by VEA President Kitty Boitnott at the Fairfax Education Association's Representative Assembly, which took place Wednesday, May 19, at Northern Virginia Community College.
"I am honored to receive this award and to be recognized by teachers for my work in the General Assembly," said Keam. "As a product of public schools and as a parent with two kids in Fairfax public schools, I have made public education my number one priority as a legislator."
In his first year in the General Assembly, Keam worked successfully with Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) to "unfreeze" the local composite index (LCI) formula that would have penalized Fairfax County schools by withholding $61 million in state funds that would have been provided under an updated formula. Keam joined Republican delegates in offering amendments to the House budget that provided the additional funds for Fairfax.
During the 2010 legislative session, Keam also introduced two bills to provide additional funding for Fairfax County Public Schools. House Bill 1128 would have imposed a cap of 0.6750 as the maximum number under the LCI instead of the current state cap of 0.800, which means that no locality shall ever pay more than 80 percent for their schools while the state picks up the other 20 percent.Â
House Bill 1129 would have added an additional 13 teachers for every 1,000 limited English proficient students in Fairfax County. The county currently has more than 21,000 such students out of 173,500 students. Without additional ESOL teachers, Fairfax suffers from having to have a student/teacher ration of 59 to 1 in classrooms instead of the ideal 30 to 1 that most jurisdictions enjoy.Â
Unfortunately, both bills were defeated on straight party-line votes in a House Appropriations Subcommittee."Del. Keam has begun his legislative career as a solid supporter of our public schools. We have acknowledged his 100 percent pro-education voting record by awarding him VEA's Rookie of the Year award. He is a welcomed friend of public education," said Boitnott.