Virtual Education Legislation in Virginia House of Delegates

The Virginia House of Delegates has passed legislation to establish a statewide virtual school to provide full-time virtual school programs here in Virginia. This legislation, patroned by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton), passed the House on February 16 with a vote of 58-40-1.

This legislation will establish the Virginia Virtual School, which is for full-time virtual only. Students who attend this school will be subject to the same Standards of Quality, including SOLs and standards of accreditation, of any other brick and mortar school. Special education services for students needing it can also be received through the school. Most importantly, this bill allows any student in Virginia to enroll in the School should their parents choose, and gives the parents the flexibility to choose any approved multi-division online provider.

Read More - Virtual Education Legislation in Virginia House of Delegates - Augusta Free Press

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House 20 Rings Loud for Bell

Del. Richard “Dickie” P. Bell soundly defended his seat against Libertarian challenger Will Hammer, Tuesday.

Bell, R-Staunton, won 75 percent of the vote to Hammer’s almost 24 percent, according to unofficial results from the Department of Elections. Bell has served since 2010 after defeating Erik D. Curren, a Democrat, in 2009 when neither was an incumbent.

Read More: House 20 Rings Loud for Bell - The News and Advance

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Bell gets 75 percent of the vote en route to win

STAUNTON-Voters made it clear on Tuesday night they wanted Dickie Bell back in Richmond. Bell was re-elected to his fourth term in the House of Delegates, collecting 75 percent of the vote in his contest against Will Hammer.

“I’m honored and thrilled with the victory,” Bell said.

Bell, 69, lives in Staunton, and received his education from Blue Ridge Community College, James Madison University and Old Dominion University. He served in the U.S. Navy Hospital Corp from 1967 to 1973. Before entering politics, Bell was a high school special education teacher and coach. He and his wife, Anne, have two children.

Read More: Bell gets 75 percent of vote en route to win - The News Virginian


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State and Local Officials Push for Alternatives to SOL Testing

WAYNESBORO-Rather than taking another Virginia-mandated Standards of Learning test, what if a student could show his or her mastery of a subject with a definitive essay or portfolio of work on the subject.

Area educators are now devising strategies for their students based on Tuesday's state accreditation ratings that were tabulated from last year's SOL testing. The educators' interest continues on the work of an SOL Innovation Committee that has recommended alternative assessments.

Read More: State and Local Officials Push for Alternatives to SOL Testing - The News Virginian

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Join Delegate Bell for an evening of BBQ and Bluegrass

There is still time to rsvp to our annual BBQ and Bluegrass fundraising event.  Please see below for the invitation.  This is a great event for the whole family, and I look forward to seeing you there!

 Join Delegate Bell for his Annual BBQ and Bluegrass

With Senator Mark Obenshain

and invited guests Congressman Bob Goodlatte

and local Republican candidates for office

Thursday, October 1, 2015

 6:00 -8:00 pm

Shenandoah Harley Davidson

213 Rolling Thunder Lane

 Staunton, Virginia 24401

Please RSVP to 540-448-4617 or by email at

Yes, I will attend the annual Bell’s BBQ and Bluegrass at the following level:

         _____$1000 Platinum Level

        _____$500 Gold Level        _____$250 Silver Level

          _____$100 Bronze Level

           _____$25 per person to attend (no Press passes)

Yes, I support Delegate Bell. However, I cannot attend the event but please accept my generous donation of $_______ to show my support!

Please make checks payable to “BELL FOR DELEGATE”

 2620 Eston Drive Staunton, VA 24401


NAME(S) __________________________________________________

Company Name




 Political Contributions are not tax-deductible. Paid for by Bell for Delegate.Corporate Contributions are accepted. State law requires employer and occupation information for contributions over $100 in a calendar year.

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Local school districts get state help to improve security

School districts in Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County were among the 100 Virginia school divisions to receive security equipment grants this week according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's office.

The grants were established by the 2013 Virginia General Assembly in the aftermath of the December 2012 mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Grant awards come from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. 


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Few voters expected in November

A pivotal election for Augusta County's future looms on Nov. 3, but history would suggest a low voter turnout when there is not a presidential, gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race on the ballot.

On Nov. 3, county voters will select the next Augusta County Board of Supervisors, and decide contested races for both the Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney and Augusta County Sheriff. Incumbent House of Delegates members Ben Cline, Dickie Bell and Steve Landes also have opponents. Among the supervisor races, only three of the seven are contested.

Read More: Few Voters expected in November - The News Virginian

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Food Bank puts local lawmakers to work

VERONA -- Unemployment statistics may be down, but the demand for the services of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is not waning.

Michael McKee, the food bank's CEO, said the food bank is now serving nearly 119,000 clients a month in its sprawling service area. And those victims of food insecurity include senior citizens and those with relatively low educational attainment.

Read More: Food Bank puts local lawmakers to work - The News Virginian

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Local candidates make debate plans

Incumbent area House of Delegates members and many of their challengers will appear Oct. 7 at the legislative dinner sponsored by the Augusta chapter of the Virginia Nurses Association.

Arlene Wiens, the chair of the legislative event, said the officer holders and challenging candidates would be questioned at Augusta Health about health issues and issues related to nursing.

Read More: Local Candidates make debate plans - The News Virginian

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Valley Business Summit focuses on small business, innovation

WEYERS CAVE -- Assuring Virginia remains a right to work state and promoting niche economic development opportunities in the Shenandoah Valley were two of objectives area state legislators touched on at the annual Valley Business Summit Wednesday at Blue Ridge Community College.

Economic developers, area entrepreneurs and others came to Blue Ridge's Plecker Workforce Center for the third annual summit, the brainchild of Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave. The sponsors of the event include Blue Ridge, and the Greater Augusta and Harrisonburg-Rockingham chambers of commerce.

Read More: Valley Business Summit focuses on small business, innovation - The News Virginian

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