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Falls Church H.S. Students Show Off Budget Knowledge

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Falls Church H.S. AP Government students listen as federal, state and local education officials give a lesson on education funding.
Jonathan Wilson
Falls Church H.S. AP Government students listen as federal, state and local education officials give a lesson on education funding.

By Jonathan Wilson

Some educators are using President Obama's budget proposal as a way to discuss finances with students. On Tuesday, a lesson at Falls Church High School in Virginia showed budget issues aren't as foreign to students as you might expect.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Virginia's new Education Chief, Gerard Robinson, led a class of seniors at Falls Church, and if they were hoping for an engaged audience for their lecture on education funding, they got their wish.

One student even brought up the complicated issue of Virginia's education funding formula, known as the Local Composite Index.

"Is Governor McDonnell going to reinstate the Local Composite Index?" the student asked.

A soft clapping came from Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Jack Dale; he and other local leaders are imploring the Governor to reverse a freeze on the index. It would mean 60 million extra dollars for Fairfax schools alone.

But some students in the class seemed more focused on funding for higher education than on the budget woes of the district they'll soon leave behind. Tony Schaffner says all the worry over the local budget is a distraction.

"I'm mean I'm aware of it, but my eyes are set forward. I'm looking to graduate. It's get out of here while I still can," says Schaffner.

For graduating seniors like Schaffner tough economic times have made financial assistance for college more important than ever.

One student guessed there was a total of $2 billion available to college students looking for help, the class seemed pleasantly surprised when Duncan said the total is closer to $170 billion.

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