Gov. Northam says Medicaid expansion would raise $2.6 million for RPS

Posted at 10:35 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-30 20:36:10-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As Michele Cox watched her 12-year-old daughter practice soccer, she talked to other parents about all of the needs facing her daughter's school system, Richmond Public Schools.

"Part of the budget needs to be to enhance school security because Mary was telling me one of the middle schools, and I know one of the elementary schools, doesn't have, they don't have doors on the classrooms," Cox said.

Prior to picking up her daughter, Cox spoke her mind wearing a "Mom's Demand Action" shirt at a meeting hosted by Governor Ralph Northam (D) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) at her daughter's school, Albert Hill Middle School.

Governor Ralph Northam (L) and Senator Mark Warner (R)

"I think it's really important that the governor as well as our state representatives hear that we really need to make our schools secure for our children," Cox said.

The Governor and Senator held the meeting with teachers and parents to talk about trying to pass Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

Now, you may be wondering why they would talk to school folks about Medicaid, and one teacher raised that question.

"I've had friends say what does health care have to do with education?" RPS Teacher, Keri Treadway said.

But she clarified for everyone why right from the beginning.

"As we're going out and talking to our neighbors and our friends, we really need to spread that message that it frees up dollars, so we can re-invest in our schools," she said.

Keri Treadway (Far right)

Northam said if Virginia approves Medicaid expansion that would allow Virginia to invest more than $516 million in K-12 education, and $2.6 million of that would go to RPS, which has been in desperate need of repairs for years.

"Morally it's the right thing to do in Virginia," Northam told the group.

The House of Delegates already approved a budget that includes Medicaid expansion, but the State Senate's budget does not, which means the state doesn't have a new budget yet, and millions of dollars that could go toward schools, hang in the balance.

It's money the Richmond Teacher of the Year said should go toward wrap around services that got cut during the recession.

"We saw all of our one on one counselors, all our mental health counselors, all of them taken out of the school system," Rodney Robinson said.

CBS 6 reached out to Senate Republicans about the issue.

A spokesperson sent us the following statement from Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan McDougle:

"The budget approved by the Senate commits substantial additional funding to both K-12 and higher education.  Governor Northam’s insistence to use the budget to impose Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is not fiscally responsible. Instead of beginning his term with a budget impasse that could lead to a government shutdown, he should approve a budget based on existing revenues, as the Senate has done.”

A special session to complete the state budget be held beginning on April 11.

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