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Issue Position: Education: A Passion for Excellence in Education

Issue Position

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Barbara's family is a family of educators. Her mother was a lifetime teacher and school administrator. Her husband, Chip, has served in Fairfax County schools for over a quarter century as a math teacher at Langley and McLean high schools and now, as an Assistant Principal at Oakton High School. Her sister was a counselor at McLean High School. She understands the sacrifice and commitment made by our teachers and educators who have had their salaries frozen while their classroom sizes and workloads increase.

HB 2510, Higher Education Act of 2011: Comstock was a co-patron of a major Higher Education bill, which was passed unanimously in the General Assembly. This initiative will enable our institutions to meet the goal of issuing an additional 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years, making Virginia one of the most highly educated states in the nation and providing our state with a workforce that will attract top jobs. Based on this legislation, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors is poised to add nearly 1,000 new spaces for in-state students that will help many of our top students in Northern Virginia get into our top schools. Other Virginia colleges and universities will be providing additional in-state slots. The legislation also places a greater emphasis on high demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects through the formation of a public-private partnership that will engage the business and professional community in leveraging best practices for K-12 and higher education.

HB 2204, Teacher Bonus: Comstock introduced legislation this year that would have allowed local school divisions to have the flexibility to use any unexpended state funds to provide a one-time bonus to all teachers of up to three percent of the annual base salary. The House Appropriations Committee incorporated this into the proposed House budget at a bonus rate of 2 percent where it obtained strong bipartisan support. This bill was modeled on a bonus given last year to state employees when they identified savings in the existing budget. While this year's similar measure for teachers had strong bipartisan support in the House, the Senate opposed providing flexibility to use this option, and it was not included in the final budget.

2010 Session, Local Composite Index Issue (LCI): During the 2010 Legislative Session, Delegate Comstock joined the Northern Virginia delegation in opposing Governor Kaine's proposed budget that included an unprecedented and arbitrary freeze of the LCI which is used to determine the share of state education funds and is recalculated and updated every two years. To reverse decades of practice was simply bad public policy, fundamentally unfair, and would have cost Northern Virginia $120 million in order to save the state $29 million. This was a top priority issue that occupied many Northern Virginia Delegates, including Comstock, in the first weeks of the session. She worked with PTAs, parents, and the local business community in the 34th District to reverse this action. Our high quality schools are integral to attracting top businesses. The Delegation also wrote a joint a letter to Governor McDonnell urging him to back the move to unfreeze the LCI and supported budget amendments to undo this proposal. Comstock worked with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, members of his Cabinet, and staff about this issue. Delegate Comstock participated in one of the first rallies to oppose the LCI Freeze here in the District at Churchill Road Elementary School where she spoke about the importance of this issue for our community.

All Day Kindergarten: Delegate Comstock worked with parents and school leaders in our community to bring all day kindergarten to all of Fairfax County schools. It was profoundly unfair that 37 schools in Fairfax only had half the kindergarten program that the rest of the students around the county and state receive. Fairfax County parents were dutifully paying their taxes - some of the highest in the county and state - and those revenues were providing all day kindergarten for children throughout most of the county and state. Yet, Fairfax County kindergarten children were denied equal treatment and told to wait... and wait for some undetermined time when they would be treated equally. Comstock worked with school officials and parents to emphasize the need to implement all day kindergarten in the next school year instead of continuing to drag out the full implementation for two or three years as had been previously planned.

HJ 916, Commending Fairfax County Schools: Delegate Comstock introduced a resolution commending Fairfax County Schools that receive the Governor's Award for Educational Excellence, Board of Education Excellence Award, and Board of Education Competence to Excellence Award.

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