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PEARISBURG, VA – The Virginia Chapter of the National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO) has awarded Delegate Jason Ballard a “Champion of School Choice Award”. The award recognizes Delegate Ballard’s efforts during the 2023 Virginia General Assembly Session on HB2030.
This legislation sought to address a key component of school choice policy – open enrollment. Additionally, HB2030 was the only school choice legislation that cleared the House of Delegates during the 2023 General Assembly Session.
“Virginia has a public-school open enrollment program, but the system does not work well because many parents and families simply don’t know that the option exists. Delegate Ballard’s legislation addressed some of the barriers around open enrollment and empowered families to recognize their right to exert some control of their tax dollars for public education” said Executive Director of the National Coalition for Public School Options Kristen Tyagi.
HB2030 provided additional transparency by informing families of existing options within the public school system outside of their assigned school. Additionally, the legislation began a conversation around creating a more equitable funding formula for nonresident, or out of division, students to help school divisions continue to serve students in a flexible way. It is important to note that nothing in the legislation mandated open enrollment policies. The goal was to better information parents that these options exist.
“I believe that empowering parents and providing educational opportunities that let students learn in an environment that best meets their needs is a top priority. Virginia families have told me that students should be able to attend the public school of their choice, regardless of attendance boundaries. I patroned HB2030 to provide additional transparency so that parents would know that these options were available to them”, said Delegate Jason Ballard.
“Delegate Ballard should be commended for his work on HB2030. This was the only school choice legislation to pass the Virginia House of Delegates during the regular Session. Had it not been for Delegate Ballard’s focus and hard work, this legislation would not have advanced as far as it did. That is why the National Coalition for Public School Options has recognized Delegate Ballard as a Champion of School Choice”, said Virginia Coalition Manager Chris Whyte.
States that have achieved the greatest success in expanding educational options are the ones that have relied on a three-pronged approach: establishing charter schools; funding Educational Savings Accounts; and opening public-school enrollment systems. While Delegate Ballard’s legislation ultimately did not pass in the Virginia State Senate, he should be commended for advancing the legislation as far as he did and beginning a serios conversation around open enrollment policies in the Commonwealth.
The National Coalition for Public School Options is an advocacy group that supports families and their pursuit of free and equitable access to education. They defend the family’s right to choose options that are safe, enriched, and suit the needs of each individual child. We give a voice to all options and all families of all backgrounds. The Coalition has a presence in 33 states and over 90,000 advocates across the country.