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Va. Gov. to announce 2012 education plan amid budget cuts

Sunday - 1/8/2012, 12:32pm  ET

Thomas Warren, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will announce Monday a K-12 education plan for 2012, amidst concerns of massive budget cuts.

In the $84.9 billion biennial budget, $438 million has been set aside for public schools. That's an increase in school funding from the previous budget.

"This funding recognizes the rising costs of certain requirements in the Standards of Quality, and demonstrates our strong commitment to improve the retirement system for teachers," McDonnell said in December during a General Assembly speech announcing his budget proposal.

Janie Strauss, chairman of the Fairfax County School Board, is not convinced the funding goes far enough.

"Between proposed long term structural changes in the budget, and possible new and costly mandates the positive of the increase in the governor's proposed budget could be short lived," Strauss says.

The grumbling between education officials and advocates in the state comes from the $882 million in cuts contained within the budget.

While state agencies will take a hit, state lawmakers say a large chunk is expected to come from the public school system.

"The governor's main policy proposals actually decrease the state's commitment to public education now, and into the future," Strauss says.

As part of the Top Jobs 21 Higher Education Reform Act passed last year, an additional $200 million was also set aside for higher education. McDonnell says the goal is to award 100,000 additional degrees in the next 15 years.

The governor is set to announce his K-12 plan Monday at 2 p.m.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)