Protecting Educational Opportunity

News of the pending closure of the Carroll County  Virginia Virtual Academy is heart-breaking. A long-term solution has  been in reach for the last three years.

Legislation I introduced would have created a  funding model that would have capped expenditures at about 25 percent  less than is currently being spent in traditional brick-and-mortar-style  learning environments. It would save money for government, spending  less for education while providing families choices in the manner in  which students learn while maintaining Virginia curriculum and  standards, including meeting requirements of the Standards of Learning  tests.

I have also fought for legislation creating a  statewide and state-governed program that would allow for greater  oversight, more accountability and a predictable and common-sense  funding mechanism that would have avoided the enrollment fees Carroll  County imposed. It is those fees with which the Roanoke Times editorial  staff (“A raw deal on virtual schools,” editorial, May 3) seems to take  umbrage.


Read More: Protecting Educational Opportunity - The Roanoke Times

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VSDB Dedicates Enlarged Campus

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind celebrated Saturday, welcoming alumni and members of the community to their campus to view the result of a four-year process of construction and renovation.

The $72.5 million project included the construction of four new buildings and the renovation of 10 more after the General Assembly decided to consolidate its two schools for the deaf and blind at the Staunton location.

“Today marks the end of our consolidation project,” school superintendant Nancy Armstrong said. “It marks an end and yet a beginning. It is the end of the separation between our deaf and blind programs, and the beginning of those programs coming together. Having an environment like this has been great for both students and the staff.”

Read More - VSDB Dedicates Enlarged Campus - The News Leader

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Bell Donates to America's Birthday Celebration

Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, said Friday he would donate $500 to America's Birthday Celebration, the July Fourth celebration in Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park. Bell said his donation would benefit the 2013 fireworks show. America's Birthday Celebration also includes a parade, games, food, crafts and exhibits. Bell describes America's Birthday Celebration as "great family friendly event'' that has been impacted by the difficult economy. The delegate encourages others to donate to the celebration.


Read More - Valley News Briefs- Waynesboro News Virginian

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Limelight Respite

When a person achieves any type of celebrity status, it is often difficult if not impossible to get out in public and enjoy some recreational activities without the paparazzi making the discovery and plastering celebrity photos all over the news media.

So too, it is in this little corner of America, though the celebrities are few and far between, and most if not all, are not mega-millionaire movie stars. No, local celebrities are more of the community service types of people, such as Va. House of Delegates member Richard “Dickie” P. Bell (R-20th District, which serves Highland County, parts of Augusta and Nelson counties and the cities of Waynesboro and Staunton – or the Congressional 5th and 6th Districts).

One Friday evening, in the not too distant past, Bell was able to take his wife of 32 years, Ann, out for a date. It was, in fact, a double-date of sorts, with Beth Beach, Bell’s campaign manager, and beau Rick Harris. They all attended Tammy Hornek’s Fun-Nite Art held at Shenandoah Valley Art Center on Wayne Avenue in Waynesboro to do a couples-paint project with one news reporter lying as low as possible.


Read More - Limelight Respite - The News Virginian

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Delegate Bell Receives "A" Rating from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Staunton, Virginia – Delegate Bell announced today that he has received a 96 “A” rating from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for his record during the 2013 General Assembly Session.

 The Chamber grades legislators based on their support of pro-business issues throughout the Session.  The Chamber annually develops a proactive legislative agenda, outlining the priorities and expectations of Virginia’s business priorities.  This agenda provides legislators with a clear understanding of the business community’s legislative priorities.  The chamber then calculates its ratings based on voting records on the principles and issues outlined in the Chamber’s 2013 Legislative Priorities, as well as their support of initiatives that will keep Virginia as the best state in the nation for business.

“I am very honored and pleased to once again receive a 96 “A” rating from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. The success of private businesses is crucial the Virginia economy.  Virginia’s record of low taxes and reduced regulation on our business community is one of the many reasons Virginia continues to rank among the best states to do business, and why our economy is recovering at a faster pace than some of our neighboring states.” said Delegate Bell.  “I am committed to supporting the principles of free enterprise, which will allow us to continue to promote job growth during this time of economic uncertainty.”

 In 2013 the Chamber was successful on 90% of its legislative priorities, and saved employers billions of dollars.  

 Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell is serving in his 2nd term.  He represents Highland County, parts of Nelson and Augusta Counties, and the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro.

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Bell to Attend Events as Virginia Representative

Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, said Tuesday he has been chosen by House Speaker Bill Howell to represent Virginia at next month's Southern Regional Education Board legislative work conference.

Bell said Howell had also appointed him to the National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices Three Branch Institute on "Child Social and Emotional Well-Being."

Read More - Valley News Briefs - The News Virginian

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Cline, Bell will seek re-election

Del. Benjamin Cline will push conservative causes and a business-friendly state and local environment in his campaign for a seventh term in the General Assembly, he said Thursday.

Cline, R-Amherst, joins Staunton Republican Richard P. “Dickie” Bell among local House of Delegates incumbents who’ve announced that they’ll be seeking re-election in November.


Read More: Cline, Bell will seek re-election - The News Leader

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Delegate Bell Announces Plans to Seek Re-Election to the House of Delegates

STAUNTON, VA – Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that he intends to seek re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates.   

“I am pleased to announce that I will be seeking a third term in the House of Delegates.” said Bell. “We have made a lot of progress in Virginia over the last four sessions, but there is a lot more that needs to be done”

“Virginia’s economy is continuing to improve much quicker than many other states throughout our country; however we are not out of the woods yet.  We still have too many that are unable to find work and too many that are underemployed.”

“I am committed to continuing the fight to create an economic environment that will foster job growth and to keeping taxes low so that we can help families across Virginia overcome the economic challenges we all face. At a time of continued overreach in Washington, I will continue to work to limit and not expand our government, and fight to protect Virginia from federal government overreach.  I will also continue to push for educational reform to ensure that all students in Virginia can get the best education possible. By upholding our common sense conservative principals, we will continue to see Virginia ranked among the best states to do business.”

“I have enjoyed serving the people of the 20th District during my two terms, and I look forward to continuing my service.” Bell added. “Anne and I are continually grateful for the continued support of the many constituents that we have met over the past three years.”

Delegate Bell serves on the Committees on Finance, Education, and Health, Welfare and Institutions.  Additionally, he serves as a subcommittee chairman for the Students and Early Education subcommittee of the Education committee.

Throughout his tenure in the House of Delegates educational reform has been one of his top priorities.  He has successfully patroned legislation that streamlines the grievance process for educators and administrators.  He successfully put forth legislation that promotes educational opportunities for deaf students, and legislation that requires state funded colleges and universities to accept American Sign Language as a foreign language for entrance requirements.  Additionally, he has continued to promote school choice by championing legislation that establishes virtual education in Virginia.

Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, and parts of Nelson and Augusta County.  He is currently serving in his second term.

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All Roads Lead to Transportation in the 2013 General Assembly

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General Assembly Town Hall Draws a Crowd

STUARTS DRAFT — Shenandoah Valley lawmakers talked public safety and other issues Wednesday night as they gathered to answer questions from constituents about the General Assembly session that begins Jan. 9. Dels.

Dickie Bell, Ben Cline and Steve Landes hosted joint town hall meeting, which pulled in a crowd of about 40 people at Guy K. Stump Elementary School.

“Participation is important in government,” said Bell, who represents the 20th District. This was the third joint town hall meeting the three delegates have hosted.

Read More: General Assembly Town Hall Meeting Draws a Crowd - The News Virginian

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