Concerned high school students and parents pleaded with Richmond City Council Monday asking that more money go toward Richmond Public Schools.
“If Richmond is going to be a tier-one city, then we need to stop building training camps and baseball stadiums and start fixing our schools,” says Open High School student Isabella Arias.
Arias spoke in front of the nine council members with her friends behind her in solid support. They held up large signs and clapped when Arias finished speaking.
“Earlier today the mayor said and I quote, ‘Education is the best way to solve your problems,'” Arias told the Council. “No problems will be solved if the conditions of Richmond Public Schools continue.”
Those conditions are shocking. Many schools have holes in the roof and others have broken air conditioner and heater units. Some buildings are literally crumbling. Despite the problems, students and parents received some good news from council members who announced that they will no longer ask the school board to cut nearly $4 million from their budget.
“Everybody on council is committed to trying to find the $3.8 million,” says council member Jon Baliles. “How we’re going to get there is a mystery.”
Parents say more money needs to be spent and the focus needs to be on schools.
“You can’t say, ‘We’re gonna have anti-poverty task force…we’re gonna have stadium…we’re gonna have Redskins and you kids with the tile coming down can wait,'” says parent Kirsten Gray.
The students and parents promise they won’t stay silent until schools are fixed.
“We are definitely going to continue this fight,” said Arias.
City Council is meeting Thursday to discuss the budget. Members plan to go through several items to see where they can come up with the $3.8 million.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond