HRT announces new electric buses; Northam signs HRT funding law to improve service

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s a glimpse into the future of public transit.

Six battery-powered buses will soon become a part of the Hampton Roads Transit system.

“That means no soot, no smoke, no harmful emissions,” said HRT President William Harrell.

HRT officials say the new buses will be deployed along Virginia Beach Boulevard between Downtown Norfolk and the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. HRT has agreed to remove the same number of diesel buses from its fleet.

The buses are quieter and have zero tailpipe emissions.

Along with the bus ribbon cutting, Gov. Ralph Northam signed two bills for dedicated HRT funding — the first time that’s been done in HRT history.

“A lot of work went into this legislation so they could create this program so they have a sustained source of revenue to keep this transit running,” said Northam.

Harrell says this means new connections, faster commutes, and better

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With Virginia’s transportation funding plan finally in place, ‘then COVID-19 hit’ | Govt-and-politics

Success came in 2013, when the assembly approved a $6 billion transportation funding package , sponsored by then-House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford, and supported by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell, but much larger in scope than they originally sought. The final package included long-sought regional funding for transportation priorities in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne, then a member of Commonwealth Transportation Board, said Southard played an important role in getting the bill passed, as well as subsequent legislation that led to the creation of Smart Scale program for ranking state transportation projects and committing money to get them done.

“He was a steadfast proponent of transportation funding,” Layne said.

Later, as transportation secretary under Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Layne said he initially clashed with Southard and his industry over reforms to the Public Private Transportation Act to protect the state’s interests in major highway deals with private developers

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State teachers group calls on DeSantis to protect education funding

Contending the reopening of Florida’s schools has not worked well, leaders of the state’s largest teacher union on Friday pressed Gov. Ron DeSantis to improve the situation.

In a letter to the governor, Florida Education Association president Andrew Spar spelled out two steps he said would help stabilize the schools as they struggle with teacher departures, online instruction woes and health-safety concerns.

Florida Education Association president Andrew Spar [ Courtesy of the Florida Education Association ]

Spar asked for a guarantee that the state’s $12.9 billion education budget not be cut, despite multibillion-dollar revenue shortfalls stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. And he proposed continuing the funding protections implemented in the state’s school reopening order, in which per-student money is provided based on pre-pandemic projections rather than current enrollment, which is down statewide.

The association is in the middle of a lawsuit challenging the reopening order.

In an online news conference,

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Florida teacher’s union calls for governor to maintain funding in schools and transparency

President Andrew Spar with the Florida Education Association said Florida school districts are struggling to keep classrooms staffed with teachers adding the pandemic is to blame.

“Create that stability, guarantee no cuts, zero cuts for the education budget. Keep the money that was promised for the 20-21 school year in place,” Spar said.

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Through a letter, Spar called for Governor Ron DeSantis to maintain education funding as it was designed in the 2020-2021 General Appropriations Act.

On Friday Parents from several school districts along with Orange County Public school board member, Angie Gallo, were present during a virtual press conference held by the FEA.

Gallo explained how OCPS is being transparent about COVID-19 cases in schools by launching a new dashboard online for parents and

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A dramatically diminished L.A. school police force under proposed cuts

Two months after a divided Los Angeles Unified school board slashed funding for its police department by more than a third, the contours of a dramatically diminished force emerged this week.



a person is walking down the street: A Black Lives Matter protester blocks a counter-protester from entering a student-led rally that called for defunding school police. L.A. school board members on Tuesday reviewed potential cuts to the district police department. (Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
A Black Lives Matter protester blocks a counter-protester from entering a student-led rally that called for defunding school police. L.A. school board members on Tuesday reviewed potential cuts to the district police department. (Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)

Under a plan presented to the board on Tuesday, police officers would be removed from school campuses and weekend patrols meant to protect schools from vandalism would be eliminated, among other cuts.

The debate over the proposed cuts, set for later this month, marks a wide split on the board over the role that armed, uniformed officers should play in providing security to hundreds of thousands of students enrolled at more than 900

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Florida’s largest teachers union calls for COVID-19 transparency, funding continuity

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Education Association sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday, pleading with the Republican leader to hold school districts’ funding steady, despite many of them experiencing lower-than-expected enrollment.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order on July 6 which, among other requirements, allowed districts to receive state FTE funding based on the forecasted enrollment rather than the enrollment gathered in an annual October survey.

During a virtual press conference Friday, the FEA called on the state to extend that financial continuity throughout the rest of the academic year, meaning that any enrollment shortfall that still exists during the annual February survey would not impact the respective district’s FTE-based funding.

“We believe a full school-year approach would assist districts in achieving the goal of retaining and hiring the personnel needed to staff the various ways we are educating students,” FEA President Andrew Spar

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Families can’t switch learning options after today

Cassidy Alexander
 
| The Daytona Beach News-Journal

By the third day of school, Chenoa Yancey knew something had to change. Her children, eighth and ninth graders enrolled in the district’s virtual school, were struggling. 

Delays in starting classes through Volusia Online Learning meant her kids watched their friends go back to brick and mortar schools while they sat home and did nothing. Virtual school seemed like the wisest choice over the summer, when so much was unknown about the schools’ reopening plans. But that changed for the family. 

“We were really, really willing to take the risk of sending them back because we knew for their own mental health and their own social aspect they really needed to go,” Yancey said. “They were struggling at home.”

Families across the district have reached that same conclusion and changed their minds about which learning option they want for their kids. Some went

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England’s state schools suffering biggest fall in funding since 1980s, says IFS



a group of people sitting at a desk: Photograph: Michael Kemp/Alamy


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Michael Kemp/Alamy

State schools in England have suffered their worst decline in funding since the 1980s, with secondary schools and those in the most deprived areas the worst affected by the era of austerity, according to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The decline that began after the Conservative-led coalition government took office in 2010 is so deep, the additional £7bn pledged by the current government will not be enough to reverse the cuts by 2023, leaving school spending 1% lower than in 2009-10, the IFS notes.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the research exposed the scale of government underfunding of education over the past decade and the largest cuts to school spending in more than 40 years.

“This is a historic failure of the nation’s children. It is also striking that despite government rhetoric of ‘levelling

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Advocates raise concerns about funding cuts on 33rd anniversary of Willowbrook State School’s closure

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Advocates for the developmentally disabled gathered at the site of the former Willowbrook State School on Thursday to raise concerns about funding cuts.

Rally attendees, including parents and some former employees of the institution, raised concerns about a possible “return to Willowbrook” if New York is either unable or unwilling to adequately fund programs across the state.

Laura Kennedy, a parent advocate who has a developmentally disabled daughter, addressed the crowd gathered for the 33rd anniversary of Willowbrook’s official closure by former Gov. Mario Cuomo and called on his son to adequately fund the needed services.

“We are here today as advocates to express our fears and frustrations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration for their continuing neglect of people with developmental disabilities,” she said. “We gather here to protest the draconian budget cuts he has implemented and continue to implement.”

At least 100 attendees

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Back-to-School Season Gets a Boost from Tufts Health Plan

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3 “Strong Buy” Healthcare Stocks With Major Catalysts Approaching

Reflecting the ultimate risk and reward, healthcare stocks are capable of delivering big returns at what feels like the drop of a hat, but investors need to be prepared for big risk, too.Unlike companies in other sectors, the survival of many healthcare players, especially when they are in the early stages, hinges on only clinical trials of their therapies or products in development and regulatory rulings, with updates on either front acting as catalysts that can send shares in either direction.So, any piece of good news can propel shares to sky-high levels. Disappointing outcomes, however, can send investors running for the hills.Given the inherently volatile nature of the space, due diligence is necessary before making investment decisions. That’s where the Wall Street pros can lend a hand, as they know the ins and outs of the industry.Bearing this in mind,

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