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VA Education Groups Predict Drastic Cuts

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By Meymo Lyons

State education groups are warning that public schools will have to lay off thousands of employees, increase class sizes and cut classroom and extracurricular programs under reductions in Virginia's proposed budget and the legislature's rejection of a tax increase.

Virginia Education Association President Kitty Boitnott estimated that the proposed $1.2 billion reduction in state public education funding for the 2010-12 biennium would result in at least 23,300 job cuts, based on the loss of state revenue that covers those positions along with reductions in local school funding.

She said the general assembly should consider raising taxes, and chastised legislators for rejecting former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's proposal to raise $2 billion for localities by raising income taxes.

Gov. Bob McDonnell hasn't offered his own education budget amendments but he has said he opposes raising taxes.

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