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School-grading bill heads to House; Morrissey, Lingamfelter swap party lines

By   /   January 30, 2013  /   No Comments

NO GRADE: Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, voted against HB 1999.

RICHMOND — An A-F grading system for public schools passed the House Education Committee Wednesday on a near-party line vote.

House Bill 1999, part of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s “All-Students” education reform package, was sent to the House floor on a 14-7 vote.

Thirteen Republican supporters were joined by Democratic Delegate Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond. The other six Democrats on the panel were joined in opposition by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge.

In backing the bill, Morrissey said, “It promotes accountability in an easy way that the average parent can understand. I’m all for accountability.”

Lingamfelter did not respond to requests comment.

Sponsored by Delegate Tag Greason, R-Lansdowne, HB 1999 requires the state Board of Education to develop by Aug. 1 a grading system in addition to the standards of accreditation for individual school performance.

The grading system will be based on an A-F scale and will include each school’s accreditation rating.

Greason told Watchdog.org after the vote:

“I am proud to carry this legislation on behalf of the governor.  Assigning A-F letter grades to our public schools will increase transparency and help the consumers of education in the commonwealth — the parents and the students — understand just how successful our schools are.

“This legislation is key to engaging the community in a discussion on how to move our schools forward.”

The committee also endorsed HB 2096, an administration-backed measure to create an Opportunity Educational Institution to take over failing schools. The bill, patroned by Delegate Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, passed 18-3 and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

— Kenric Ward


Kenric Ward was a former San Antonio-based reporter for Watchdog.org.