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Legislative Priorities

Salem City Schools 2015 Legislative Priorities

Adopted November 11, 2014

The Salem City School Division envisions an exciting future for Salem’s children. Achieving this vision will require purposeful elimination of some traditional barriers prescribed by outdated laws and regulations that have failed to keep pace with the rate of progress in Salem City Schools. The purpose of this document is to advocate for necessary legislative and regulatory changes to provide those who serve children the opportunity to innovate on their behalf.

Current Reality: 
Teaching and learning are extremely complex processes. While public education is a national priority and a state responsibility, it is ultimately a local function. The Salem City School Board urges state and federal government leaders to create the conditions that facilitate innovation while avoiding the temptation to micromanage a local function by supporting local School Board authority.

Legislative Priorities:
The 2015 session of the General Assembly will consider numerous issues of profound importance to the Commonwealth’s public school students and to the school employees who deliver the promise of a high quality public education.   Positions adopted by the Salem City School Board will be communicated to Salem’s legislators before the Assembly convenes.  Legislators are urged to contact the Board or the Superintendent regarding legislation with implications for Salem’s children.

2015 State Legislative Priorities

  • School Funding – The Salem City School Board urges the General Assembly to adopt a state budget within the defined annual meeting timeframe that fully funds the state’s share of the Standard of Quality as recommended by the Virginia Board of Education in 2007 and that fully funds the cost of re‐benchmarking.  Cost‐shifting of the state’s responsibility to localities with required increases in VRS and other mandates without corresponding state aid must stop and the trend of reducing the percentage of the state budget allocated to K‐12 education must be reversed.
  • Assessment and Accountability – The Salem City School Board supports the establishment of a balanced assessment and accountability system, as defined by local school boards, that utilizes a more complete picture of student learning by providing both measures of achievement (such as criterion‐referenced  SOL‐like tests) and state‐approved, authentic measures of individualized student growth over time. Furthermore, the Salem City School Board supports a reduction in the number of current SOL tests to carefully selected grade‐levels and content‐areas to permit the reallocation of assessment dollars and instructional time.  By reducing the number and frequency of achievement measures in selected grades and subject areas, time and resources could be allocated for assessments that measure student growth.
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