Virginia Virtual School Board; established, report. (HB1400)

Introduced By

Del. Dickie Bell (R-Staunton) with support from co-patron Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Virginia Virtual School established. Establishes the Board of the Virginia Virtual School (the Board) as a policy agency in the executive branch of state government for the purpose of governing the full-time virtual school programs offered to students enrolled in the Virginia Virtual School (the School). The Secretary of Education is responsible for such agency. The 14-member Board is given operational control of the School and assigned powers and duties. Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, the bill requires the School to be open to any school-age person in the Commonwealth and to provide an educational program meeting the Standards of Quality for grades kindergarten through 12, with a maximum enrollment of 5,000 students statewide. The bill requires the average state share of Standards of Quality per pupil funding for each enrolled student to be transferred to the School. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


08/31/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17100178D
08/31/2016Referred to Committee on Education
01/20/2017Assigned Education sub: Education Innovation
01/26/2017Subcommittee recommends reporting (6-Y 2-N)
01/26/2017Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Appropriations
01/29/2017Impact statement from DPB (HB1400)
01/30/2017Reported from Education (14-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2017Referred to Committee on Appropriations
01/30/2017Assigned App. sub: Elementary & Secondary Education
01/31/2017Subcommittee recommends reporting (5-Y 1-N)
02/01/2017Reported from Appropriations (12-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2017Read first time
02/06/2017Read second time and engrossed
02/07/2017Read third time and passed House (57-Y 40-N)
02/07/2017VOTE: PASSAGE (57-Y 40-N) (see vote tally)
02/08/2017Constitutional reading dispensed
02/08/2017Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/16/2017Reported from Education and Health (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2017Rereferred to Finance
02/16/2017Reported from Finance (7-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/20/2017Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/21/2017Read third time
02/21/2017Passed Senate (22-Y 18-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2017Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1400ER)
02/24/2017Signed by Speaker
02/24/2017Signed by President
02/28/2017Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 2/28/17
02/28/2017G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 27, 2017
03/08/2017Impact statement from DPB (HB1400ER)
03/13/2017G Vetoed by Governor
04/05/2017Placed on Calendar
04/05/2017House sustained Governor's veto (58-Y 42-N)
04/05/2017VOTE: OVERRIDE GOVERNOR'S VETO (58-Y 42-N) (see vote tally)
04/05/2017(67 affirmative votes required to override)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: SB1240.


Gabriel A. Reich writes:


I am a former high school history teacher and I have been an education professor preparing history teachers for over 9 years.

After careful consideration, I must conclude that this bill is a terrible idea. The research evidence on virtual schools is dismal, particularly in the earlier grades. There are some limited cases where virtual schools might be of some use, particularly for home-bound students in rural areas. This bill would provide for a system that goes way beyond that. Schools are where young people learn a variety of social, emotional, and cognitive skills. On all these counts, particularly the first two, virtual schools are woefully inadequate. "On-line kindergarten" sounds like something from a SNL skit, not something that our state legislators should take seriously. State agencies should not give a seal of approval to such entities.

The argument for such schools has been that they will provide cost savings, but in this bill, the full amount of state funding will go to each student enrolled. That is absurd. There is no physical plant to maintain, there are fewer services such as counseling, physical education, meals, and fewer teachers in virtual schools, so why are there no cost savings here?

People pay taxes to support their communities and the institutions that sustain them. This bill would authorize parasitic non- and for-profit entities to siphon tax dollars away from those institutions with no benefit to anyone but themselves. This is kleptocracy and the people of Virginia will not stand for it.

kirsten gray writes:

Another layer of bureaucracy and a way to drain state funds from our brick and mortar public schools. I agree with Gabriel A. Reich's full comment above. "This bill would authorize parasitic non- and for-profit entities to siphon tax dollars away from those institutions with no benefit to anyone but themselves. This is kleptocracy and the people of Virginia will not stand for it." It is wrong to use children for profit and to knowingly and deliberately give them a subpar education. Shame.

Sidney Newton writes:

This seems like a way to transfer local education funds from public education to for profit educational companies. The transfer of funds is suspect in that one 'virtue' of a virtual school is, one might assume, significantly lower costs. Yet there would be no cost savings transferred to the state in this case - just increased profits for predatory education companies.

Please oppose it!

Elizabeth writes:

Not only is there the issue of funding (the MAJOR concern, well addressed by previous commenters), but this would also take control of any virtual school programs already in existence away from locally elected school boards.