A proposed state constitutional amendment that would permit a statewide school district to take charge of failing schools appears dead for the year after the Senate reassigned the bill to committee today.
House Joint Resolution 693 was sent back to the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, which has no more meetings scheduled in this session. Today is the deadline for committee action on legislation.
The proposed amendment, sponsored by Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, is a companion to a separate bill (HB 2096) authorizing the creation of a statewide school board to take over schools that have been denied accreditation or have been accredited with warning for three consecutive years. The proposal is part of an education reform package Gov. Bob McDonnell is pushing in this legislative session.
Each house has passed a bill to establish a statewide school district.The Senate bill passed with a tie-breaking vote from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
Opponents of the proposed statewide school district have questioned the legislation’s constitutionality, prompting legislators in both houses to draft constitutional amendments. But the Senate never took a floor vote on the proposed amendment. Habeeb said Senate supporters of the amendment were working to amend the resolution to get the necessary 21 votes to pass before allowing a floor vote on the measure.
To take effect, a constitutional amendment must be passed in consecutive legislative sessions separated by an election, and then get approval from voters in a referendum.
– Michael Sluss