|For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2012
Contact: Elise Marsh
Richmond, VA - Delegate Barbara Comstock (R - Fairfax and Loudoun) announced the restoration of $24.3 million for the Cost of Competing Adjustment (COCA) funding to Northern Virginia localities. Both Governor McDonnell's 2012-2014 budget and the House Appropriations Committee's 2012-2014 budget had proposed retaining this funding for teachers, however, these monies for support and administrative staff had been eliminated. At the beginning of the session this year, Delegate Comstock joined with a bipartisan coalition of her colleagues, including Loudoun County Delegate Tag Greason, a member of the Appropriations Committee, in proposing a budget amendment to restore these funds.
COCA has been an additional factor used in the state K-12 funding formula since the late 1980s, when the General Assembly recognized the significantly higher costs that Northern Virginia localities faced in attracting and retaining high quality teachers and employees for their school systems.
Delegate Comstock said, "The amendment we supported during the budget debate, carried by our Loudoun colleague, Delegate Tag Greason, restores $24.3 million for Northern Virginia school support personnel. I will continue to work with my colleagues throughout the budget process to get our fair share of the school budget. It is important for Northern Virginia school systems to have the ability to attract quality individuals, such as assistant superintendents, instructional professionals, IT personnel, and others, who provide the necessary expertise and assistance to our teachers and students."
The Commonwealth of Virginia provides its Northern Virginia state employees a pay supplement of up to 20-30% as it recognizes the increased cost of hiring and retaining high quality employees in that region. The COCA remained in effect for teachers but not support personnel. The partial restoration of COCA for support staff will provide $12.0 million in FY2012-2013 and $12.3 million in FY2013-2014 for Northern Virginia schools.
As the wife and sister of Fairfax County school employees Delegate Comstock is committed to keeping Fairfax and Loudoun County schools the best in the country.
Chairman Scott York, Chairman of the Board of Loudoun County said, "I want to thank Delegates Comstock and Greason for their successful effort to restore partial funding for Cost of Competing Adjustment. We live in a highly competitive area with a higher cost of living and this funding will help us to retain and attract excellent teachers in Loudoun County and the Northern Virginia region."
Supervisor Suzanne Volpe said, "The localities in Northern Virginia struggle to ensure we can offer a competitive salary for employees and this bill will enable our region to continue to recruit and retain excellent personnel. I commend Delegates Comstock and Greason for their efforts to support our community."
Chairman of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Jim Corcoran said, "The business community greatly appreciates the leadership of the Northern Virginia delegation on this critical issue. We must properly invest in our school system so the workforce of tomorrow has the skills our businesses will require. Delegate Comstock and her colleagues clearly understand that."
Delegate Comstock currently serves on the Commerce and Labor, Transportation and Science and Technology Committees. Delegate Comstock represents McLean, Great Falls, and parts of Vienna and Loudoun County.