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Henrico County Public Schools Legislative Program 2022

Legislative Goals of Henrico County Public Schools

Academic Achievement 
We support efforts to maintain strong K-12 academic standards while providing a variety of means for achieving those standards. 

Equity and Diversity 
We support equity, diversity and inclusion for all students and staff in HCPS schools, fostering a sense of belonging for students, increasing family engagement, and improving academic and behavioral outcomes for all students. 

Funding 
We support full funding for all current state- and federally mandated programs (SOLs, SOQs and ESSA), full funding for any new federally or state-mandated guidelines or programs, and for rebenchmarking, based on prevailing educational practices occurring in our school divisions to achieve these standards. 

Highly Qualified Staff 
We support funding instructional positions at an acceptable level in order to remain competitive nationwide and to attract and retain the most highly qualified teachers and student support staff. 

Local School Board Autonomy 
We support the preservation of local control over education matters that are best governed at the local level as set forth in Article VIII, section 7 of our State Constitution. 

Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) 
We support continued legislative efforts to recognize the positive impact of low pupil-teacher ratios on student achievement, particularly in grades K-3. 

Safe Schools 
We support legislation that provides for school security equipment, software and personnel, including support staff, to ensure a school climate that addresses the mental health and social and emotional needs of individual students. 

Student Behavior 
We support legislation that provides a safe and welcoming school environment where there are high expectations for student conduct and school disciplinary measures that are appropriate and equitable. 

Technology 
We support legislation for funding technology implementation in all K-12 classrooms that will provide fair and equitable access to instruction for all students and will reflect current practices leading to school safety. 

Life-Ready Skills 
We support federal and state efforts to ensure that all students are empowered with the knowledge, skills, attributes and experiences to be life-ready. 

2022 Legislative Priority Positions

FUNDING 

  • Support full funding of the SOQs and rebenchmarking based on prevailing educational practices occurring in school divisions. Partial state funding of these education requirements has resulted in a disproportionate financial burden on localities to make up the difference. 
  • Support school divisions being held harmless in terms of both ADM and LCI changes regarding their impact on Basic Aid. 
  • Oppose any new unfunded mandates and support a review and possible reversal of previously unfunded mandates that have been enacted since 2009 with limited or no additional funding. 
  • Support phasing in an SOQ funding model for the Governor’s schools that reflects language adopted in the 2016-18 Appropriation Act to address the instability of their current funding. 

TEACHER AND STAFF SHORTAGES 

  • Support a JLARC study to increase state funding to address critical teacher shortages, low teacher salaries, high turnover rates, greater ethnic diversity and decreasing enrollment in teacher preparatory programs. 
  • Support the removal of the SOQ Support Position Cap and a return to funding methodologies used prior to 2009 to adequately fund those critically important support personnel such as school counselors, school psychologists and other mental health professionals who directly impact the social and emotional health of students, as well as assistant principals and instructional assistants who also provide critical support to meet the behavioral and instructional needs of students. 
  • Support a focused effort by DOE to examine the current licensure requirements for teachers to see if the process can be updated or shortened with consideration for incorporating a tiered approach. Funding sources to support teacher certification should also be reexamined. 
  • Support increased efforts by the Department of Education and the Division of Motor Vehicles to address the critical shortage of bus drivers. 

SCHOOL BOARD AUTHORITY 

  • Oppose legislation that would remove or limit local school board authority over any established schools within their division, and over the formation and operation of charter schools within their division. 
  • Oppose legislation that would impose mandates for elected local school boards regarding disciplinary action against students for specific actions or behaviors. 

Continuing Positions

CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION 

  • Support career and technical education as a significant program choice for all students, and continue efforts to collaborate and partner with businesses in remaining current with industry and technical practices. 

EQUITY AND DIVERSITY 

  • Support student accountability measures using multiple learning dimensions to capture the breadth of student diversity. 
  • Support increased staffing to achieve equity by responding to student social and emotional needs with additional school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers and/or school behavioral specialists. 

FUNDING 

  • Support recent legislative efforts to protect K-12 funding for the state, while acknowledging Henrico’s significant local effort that far exceeds state requirements. 
  • Support legislation designed to maintain support for teacher salaries at a level that is competitive with the national job market and is, at a minimum, equal to the national average. 
  • Supports legislation that allows the flexible use of Lottery Proceed Funds for K-12 education and eliminates or reduces the local match required to access these funds. 

GOVERNANCE AND SCHOOL CHOICE 

  • Oppose any additional legislation that establishes tuition tax credits, tax deductions or vouchers as a means of reimbursing parents for their children’s K-12 educational expenses. 
  • Oppose any legislative changes that might diminish the authority and responsibility of the local school board in establishing charter schools. 
  • Support legislation that would more clearly define the role of parent advocates in IEP meetings and due process hearings. 

INSTRUCTIONAL PERSONNEL 

  • Support budget changes that will increase salaries of teachers, provide the necessary support staff for them and develop incentives for their retention. 
  • Provide funding for better strategies to address teacher recruitment through financially accessible pathways into the profession, better education about federal loan forgiveness programs, and salaries that are competitive with other professions. 
  • Support state efforts to recruit and retain more teachers who more closely represent the ethnic diversity of our students. 

ENGLISH LEARNERS (EL) 

  • Support adequate state funding for appropriate instructional programs, services, and staffing designed  to meet the needs of English Learner (EL) students. 

NON-PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS PLAYING SPORTS 

  • Oppose legislation that would require local school boards to allow non-public school students to try out for interscholastic activities, including but not limited to sports. 

PRE-KINDERGARTEN EDUCATION 

  • Support continued legislative efforts to expand pre-K education for all at-risk students. 
  • Support the elimination of the required local match for VPI funding to allow school divisions to expand preschool opportunities without negatively impacting funding for other programs and services. 

STUDENT ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACHIEVEMENT 

  • Support continuing efforts to move student achievement from competence to excellence. 
  • Support multiple assessments as measures of student academic progress and achievement, including expedited retakes of the SOL tests for all students and alternate measures of student growth. 

STUDENT WELLNESS AND FITNESS 

  • Support efforts to create schools that are safe places for students and staff with increased funding for school mental health professionals (school counselors, psychologists and social workers). 
  • Support efforts to establish cooperative agreements between local school boards and the Department of Social Services and Community Services Board to provide mental health and community-based services for students who need such services. 

TECHNOLOGY 

  • Support the continued funding of instructional technology that includes infrastructure components, maintenance software, supplies and connectivity costs. 
  • Support the expansion of virtual learning opportunities for students. 
  • Support legislation that provides funding for technology tools that can be used to ensure student and staff safety. 

TRANSPORTATION 

  • Support measures that foster safe transportation for pupils, as well as the efficient operation of school division transportation systems. 
  • Develop strategies to address the critical shortage of bus drivers.

Just the Facts

Schools & Centers

Elementary……………………………………………….46
Middle………………………………………………………12
High…………………………………………………………9
Advanced Career Education (ACE) Centers….3
Alternative Program Centers……………………….3
Henrico Virtual Academy……………………………1
Total Schools and Centers……………………………74

Students

Elementary…………………….21,219
Middle……………………………11,336
High……………………………….15,645
Other………………………………….502
Total Students…………………48,702

Graduates

Total 2021 Graduates…………………….3,612
On-Time 2019 Graduation Rate….90.2%
Plans to Continue Education………70.6%
Scholarships Accepted…….$21.4 Million
 (Internal estimate. Response rate was reduced because of COVID-19.) 

Student Diversity

African American………………………..35.4%
Asian………………………………………….12.9%
Caucasian……………………………………34.5%
Hispanic……………………………………..11.7%
Other…………………………………………..5.5%
Economically Deprived…………………..46%
Number of Languages Spoken …………..100+

Average Class Size

Elementary…………………………………..18.7
Middle………………………………………….17.4
High……………………………………………..19.2
(Includes students learning in person and at Henrico Virtual Academy.)

Employees

Total Teachers…………………………….4,502
Total Employees (FTE)………………..7,361

Finance 2021-22

Operating Budget……………………….$707.5 Million
Per Pupil Expenditure…………………$12,732