Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Examiner Reports on Delegate Keam's Budget Amendment for TJ


http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/virginia/2011/02/va-house-budgets-66k-more-jefferson

Va. House budgets $66k more for Jefferson

The Virginia House of Delegates included in its budget $66,000 in additional funding for Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County to help offset the costs of the school's expanded enrollment. Jefferson is one of 19 "governor's schools," which provide specialized programs for students in areas such as the performing arts, marine and environmental science or, in the case of Thomas Jefferson, science and technology. But Jefferson, with 1,805 students, is the only one that exceeds the state enrollment limit of 1,600 students, forcing the county to pay the additional expense.Del. Mark Keam, D-Fairfax, introduced the amendment that would expand enrollment at governor's schools to 1,650, providing $66,000 for Thomas Jefferson in the 2012 budget year.
The ultracompetitive school has been ranked as the No. 1 public school in the country by U.S. News & World Report for four straight years. "We've always supported increasing the cap," said Michael Molloy, director of government relations for Fairfax County Public Schools. "For us, it's more of a principle thing -- every other governor's school is funded for its students, and Thomas Jefferson isn't." Keam agreed that it was a modest, but symbolic, amount. He contended that the school "affects every corner of Fairfax County," in that the more funding the state provides, the better chance the school has to remain atop the rankings and attract residents to the region. "These students deserve the best support the state can provide so that they will continue to make T.J. the best high school in the nation, year after year," he said. Despite the amendment embedded in the House's version of its budget bill, the state Senate has taken a markedly different approach toward funding for K-12 education in the current budget negotiations. The Senate proposed an additional $100 million for K-12, while the House has proposed cutting funding for K-12 by $50 million in its budget. Both chambers are set to take up their respective budget bills Thursday. dsherfinski@washingtonexaminer.com
Thomas Jefferson High School was given$66,000 in additional funding to help offset expanded enrollment costs.-Andrew Harnik/Examiner FileThomas Jefferson High School was given$66,000 in additional funding to help offset expanded enrollment costs.-Andrew Harnik/Examiner File
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