Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Gov. McDonnell does the right thing on LCI


Today, Gov. McDonnell announced that he is "unfreezing" the LCI formula:

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/news/viewRelease.cfm?id=38

Delegate Keam has been fighting for this result from his first day in Richmond.  In response to the announcement, Delegate issued this press release:

PRESS RELEASE

 Thursday, February 8, 2010                                          For Immediate Release

Contact:   Rob Abbot, (703) 380-8883

Delegate Mark Keam Praises Gov. Bob McDonnell for Protecting Fairfax County's School Funding Formula

RICHMOND — Delegate Mark Keam today praised Governor Bob McDonnell for his decision to use an updated Local Composite Index (LCI) formula, which determines the share of state versus local funding responsibilities for public education in the state's budget.  The current budget proposal before the General Assembly which the outgoing Governor submitted in December would have "frozen" the LCI formula at its outdated level, which would have resulted in Fairfax County losing over $61 million in state aid in the coming year.

"I applaud Gov. McDonnell for his decision to ‘unfreeze' the Local Composite Index in the budget," said Keam.  "This is an important step forward for Fairfax County students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers."

While imperfect, the LCI has been the formula that the Commonwealth has used for nearly four decades to determine how much a locality can afford to contribute to its schools.  Adjustments are made every two years to take into consideration each county's fluctuating "wealth" indicators, such as commercial and residential real estate prices, gross income levels of the county's residents and sales tax.  The proposal to freeze the LCI to an outdated figure was unprecedented and patently unfair as it would have ignored the depreciating real estate market and loss of income and sales in certain Northern Virginia localities, to a tune of over $128 million in state funds.

"Today's decision is a victory for principled process and for our traditional notions of fairness," Keam explained.  "We live in a Commonwealth.  We should recognize that sense of commonness, that what is fair for one region of our state is also fair for another."

From his first day in the General Assembly, Delegate Keam has made fixing the LCI and seeking adequate funding for schools his priority.  He introduced House Bill 1128 to impose a cap on LCI to limit the locality's share for schools and House Bill 1129 to seek additional state funding for limited English proficient students in Fairfax County.

The General Assembly will have to approve Gov. McDonnell's proposal in its consideration of the budget, and will need to find additional funding from other sources to cover the amount that is rightfully due to Northern Virginia under the updated LCI.  In his announcement today, Gov. McDonnell proposed several ways to pay for meet the shortfall, such as using a surplus in the Literary Fund and applying savings from the State Health Insurance Fund.

"On a personal note, I want to thank the Governor for working with me and for the other members of the Northern Virginia delegation," Keam added.

"Last year, candidate McDonnell campaigned as ‘Fairfax's Own.'  I'm very glad to see that Governor McDonnell is living up to this campaign promise.  I look forward to continuing to work with him on a bipartisan basis to promote Fairfax County's interests in Richmond," Keam concluded.

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