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All Four Gubernatorial Candidates Address Teachers' Union

April 24, 2009

Hampton Roads - For the first time in recent history, all four gubernatorial candidates participated in a forum on education at the same time. Republican candidate Robert McDonnell, and Democratic candidates state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), former state delegate Brian Moran, and Terry McAuliffe responded to questions put to them by the Virginia Education Association(VEA), the state's largest teacher's union, about education funding.

VEA President Kitty Boitnott says the candidates' interest in her organization's priorities highlights the importance of education reform. Virginia's next governor, whoever it will be, will need to overhaul state education funding, she says.

"We currently have some very serious problems with our overall tax structure, which has begun to show the cracks during this economic downturn."

Boitnott acknowledges, that increasing education funding could result in higher taxes.

"We are sympathetic; we pay taxes too. But the bottom line is that Virginia is a low-tax state. In spite of all of the rhetoric to the contrary, Virginia is one of the lowest-taxed states in the nation."

Virginia is currently 37th in the nation in state funding per student, according to the VEA, while the state is the ninth-wealthiest per-capita.

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA