State takeover bill fails in General Assembly

By Melissa Quinn

Lawmakers in Richmond rejected Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendments to a bill creating the Opportunity Educational Institution during the General Assembly’s veto sessions yesterday.

McDonnell’s changes — which included an additional $450,00 in funding — were voted down by both the state Senate and House of Delegates. The original bill, passed by the General Assembly in February, will now return to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The legislation allows for a state-governed body to take over schools that either lost its accreditation or are at risk for losing accreditation — which could affect four schools throughout the commonwealth, including Jefferson-Houston.

In legislative sessions, lawmakers worried the bill was too vague in laying out the Opportunity Educational Institution proposed relationship with local school boards. Many lawmakers, including Alexandria’s Delegate Rob Krupicka (D-45), feared the institution would limit the amount of input from the community in regards to students’ education.

Lawmakers allocated only $150,000 to the institution, far less than the originally proposed by the governor. The Opportunity Educational Institution would go into effect at the start of the 2014-2015 school year if it receives his signature.

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