01/10/2018 Senate Proceedings

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Called to order at 12 m. by Lt. Governor Ralph S. Northam

Prayer offered by The Reverend Andie Wigodsky Rohrs, St. Andrews
Episcopal Church, Norfolk, Virginia

ROLL CALL OF MEMBERS: quorum present


1st District: Stephen Carrington Gross of Newport News

6th District: Ava Rose Libbey of Norfolk

8th District: Grace Hellen Ford of Virginia Beach

10th District: Andrew Quentin Benedetti of Richmond

11th District: Zoe Serene Gonzalez of North Chesterfield

12th District: Colin Andrew Hudson of Glen Allen

17th District: Trent Alexander Sites of Fredericksburg

18th District: Scarlett Summer Raney of Freeman

19th District: Lilly Nichole Rush of Christiansburg

22nd District: James Thaddeus Martin of Goochland

25th District: Nicole Rebecca Bilchick of

26th District: Emma Grace Chupp of Broadway

29th District: Jacob Tylor Kirkland of Manassas Park

30th District: Josephine Marie Abrials of Alexandria

31st District: Sean Liam Bender-Prouty of Arlington

34th District: Delaney Morgan Adams of Fairfax

36th District: Caroline Mary Henry of Alexandria

39th District: Jayden Tyler Ali of Lake Ridge

40th District: Todd Edward Pillion II of Abingdon


Makenzy Michelle Bates of Bedford

Grant Crowther Biddlecomb of Reedville

Langley Douglas Amory of Poquoson

Henry Knox Dendy of Richmond

Ethan Callom Lynne of Ashland


Shona Aceto of Ashburn

George Williams Bishop V of Richmond

Mallory Rachel Chalker of Moseley

Caroline Gwynn Coleman of Arlington

Anika Sakhi Damaraju of Broadlands

Quentin Michael Hoglund of Yorktown

McKenzie Grace Marker of Mechanicsville

Annie Marie Nealon of Alexandria

Ella Reece Smith of Powhatan

Dylan Todd Spruill of Mechanicsville

Ian Gordon Stolle of Virginia Beach

Aarya Abhijit Walvekar of Broadlands

Peter William Zhang of Glen Allen

SR 7 - Rules suspended, committee discharged, readings and
engrossment waived, taken up for immediate consideration (40?Y 0?N),
agreed to (40?Y 0?N)

House informed that the Senate is duly organized and ready to






What follows is a transcript of this day’s session that was created as closed-captioning text, written in real time during the session. We have made an effort to automatically clean up the text, but it is far from perfect.

The bill is passed.
Continuing on Page 22, Senate bill 1324, a bill to amend and reenact sections of the code of Virginia relating to the creation of the opportunity educational institution. Report from the committee on education on February 13th, report from committee appropriations on the 15th. >> The gentleman from Salem, Mr. Habeeb. >> Mr. Speaker, members of the body, Senate bill 1324 is the Senate version of the governor's opportunity education institution bill, and the House version was 2096, passed this body some time ago. The Senate version passed the education appropriations committee, strong bipartisan support. I don't want to rehash everything but want to address a couple of misconceptions floating around. There has been talk about it impacting a huge number of schools as it was when it came through the House. The Senate version only impacts six schools. No. 2, there has been some talk that this bill is modeled after something that only happens in louisiana and we're a better school for public education than louisiana. The reality is a number of states have the process whereby the state to get involved in public schools, including maryland, which by the same survey that ranked us no. 4 is rated no. 1, including massachusetts, which by the same survey is rated no. 2, states that take public education very seriously but understand that the state has a moral and constitutional obligation to play in public schools. There has also been some question about the success of this program with other states. For example, in louisiana, where things are not perfect, but nonetheless in louisiana, for example, test scores have gone up, and listen to this, in every single grade, in every single subject, that are part of the recovery school district for three straight years. Every grade in every subject has shown I am -- improvement. Graduation rates have gone from 50% to 86%. Ladies and gentlemen, that's success to me. Finally, the Washington post had an editorial endorsing this plan and responding to one other issue some people have raised, especially in the Senate, have encouraged us to delay this bill for a year and study it. The Washington post said, and I 'll quote, but to suggest as it being argued by opponents in the Senate that the plan be put on hold and, quote, study, close quote, for the year is to ignore the urgency of change from schools year after year students that read, write and can't do math dwarf those can can. Mr. Mcdonnell is correct. The time for tolerance of failing schools is over. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you will pass the bill. >> The gentleman from Fairfax, Ms. Kory.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, speaking to the bill.
Gentlewoman has the floor. >> I have spoken about my objections to this bill several times on the floor, and I won't repeat everything that I 've said before, but I will say that my major concerns about this bill are that it removes all local taxpayer, voter and parent participation in the school takeover process. No local input. Get that? No local input. That is wrong. This bill allows the state to take local tax dollars when the state decides to take over a school. That is wrong. This bill is truly an outrageous intrusion into local governance. We are always talking about the fact that the government that is closest to the people governs best, and this is such a contradiction to that philosophy that it's hard to even talk about it, and 6 schools being taken over with this process is 6 schools too many. I ask the body to reject this bill.
Kirk Cox
The gentlewoman from Richmond city, Ms. Mclegal lan.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Would -- mclegal -- mclegal lan. >> Thank you, would the gentleman rise for a question?
I will. >> Gentleman yields. >> I thought I heard you say this bill would only apply to six schools, but if you look at lines 238 to 239 where it says the supervision of any school that has been denied accreditation shall be transferred to the opportunity education institution, am I correct that that portion of the bill is where you reference the six schools that would be affected?
Mr. Speaker, I would tell the gentle lady there are four schools in Virginia that have been denied accreditation. They are jefferson ewe son elementary inal san degree, a lafayette winona in Norfolk, william roughener middle in Norfolk, Norfolk, and peabody milled in Petersburg. There are two schools in Virginia that have conditional accreditation, linden wood and one in Northampton. There is another section of the bill which has a May line which refers to schools that have been accredited with warning three years. There are currently only two schools in that category. So there are four unaccredited schools. There are two conditionally accredited schools, and there are two schools accredited with warnings three years in a row.
Mr. Speaker, would the gentleman yield for a further question? >> Will the gentleman yield?
I will. >> Gentleman yields. >> Can the gentleman tell me how often schools go through the accreditation process? >> Yes, Mr. Speaker. I will tell the gentle lady they are analyzed on an annual basis. In order to become unaccredited, you have to fail to meet your target four times, and let me put some more numbers on this, because this is important. Of schools that are accredited with warning one, so you May have seen a list that says you have a school that's a target because they've been accredited with warning. 74% of those schools become accredited in one year. So 74% never get to even accredited two. After that, 90% are accredited before they get accredited with warning three. So in order for become unaccredited, you have to fail to meet your target four years in a row, and of schools that become unaccredited one year with one warning, 90% of them never get to the third accredited with warning. So again, we only have six schools that have gone from accredited with warning one all the way to unaccredited or conditional accreditation.
Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield for a further question?
Will the gentleman yield? >> I will. >> Gentleman yields.
So would the gentleman agree that while the current number of schools that would be impacted by this bill is six according to his responses that that number could very well change in the future?
Mr. Speaker, I 'd tell the gentlewoman, it will change. It's going to go down, and the reason for that is we're not implementing this bill for 18 months, so some of those six are already on notice of what's coming, and I 'm confident enough that the localities are going to do what it takes that some number of those six are not even ever going to get there. But then we look at the list of schools who are within four year, and we know what that list of schools is. We know that by the status quo, 90% of them will never reach it. So by status quo, only 10% of them would reach that point. Again, we believe giving them an 18 month lead time coming into this that in all likelihood the number would actually be lower. I have great confidence in the folks in Petersburg, Norfolk and Alexandria, who are trying their best and have so far failed to reach the level they need to, that at least some number of them will get there before this bill is even implemented. >> Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly hope the gentleman is right. >> Mr. Yancey.
Kirk Cox
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Speaking to the bill. >> Gentleman has the floor.
Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen of the body, I spoke last time about this bill in the House version. In regards to the Senate version, I would just bring to your attention that the two patrons on that trip to louisiana, they both saw the same things I witnessed, they saw the success of the students in louisiana and I think the one thing we need to remind ourselves is the words of the gentleman from Roanoke, that this bill is about helping children who are suffering in schools failing them. They want to succeed, look for an opportunity to succeed and improve themselves, and this bill helps inen -- in that endeavor. I thank you and encourage you to approve the bill.
Kirk Cox
Shall the bill pass? The clerk will close the roll.
Ayes 64, nos 34. >> Ayes 64, nos 34.