Funding Education in our Rural District | Tristan Shields

Funding Education in our Rural District

There are at least two major issues that need to be addressed for us to improve school funding in District 18:

  1. Challenging the current tax loopholes that drive down Fauquier’s school funding, and
  2. Finding new sources of revenue to support schools in less populated rural areas.

Loophole – Wealthy tax breaks directly impact school funding

Income inequality is huge problem in the 18th. Higher real estate values and retail sales hurt Fauquier’s Composite Index, which Virginia uses to determine local ability to pay for public education. In practical terms this means the state looks at our real estate value and says: “You have a lot of money so you should be able to pay a larger share for schools.” The problem is tax breaks for rich land owners undermine this system. It is especially tough in rural areas where income inequality is more pronounced. It also doesn’t help that our incumbent Delegate, Michael Webert’s family is in the rich land owner category making it unlikely for him to take this on. When I’m elected, I will work hard to get proper funding for our schools.

Dedicated Revenue specifically to rural schools

Many Virginians assume when they buy a lottery ticket the profit is going directly to schools. That is not the case. School districts in Virginia get less than 30 percent of the total sales. The money goes into Virginia’s General Fund which is used to plug holes in the budget. I propose a dedicated portion of the total lottery ticket sales guaranteed for rural schools that need it the most. The General Assembly is the body which determines how monies are distributed from the lottery. District 18’s Delegate should be advocating for better use of this money for rural needs.