8News Investigates: Major Problems with Richmond Schools Truancy Program

A newly released internal audit shows some big problems with the transition of the truancy program from the City of Richmond to Richmond Public Schools.

Since 2005, the city has managed the program but R.P.S. took over on July 1, 2014.

According to this audit, the city initially agreed to hand over eight vehicles.

Three were 15 passenger vans but they are illegal for school systems to use for transporting kids.

Out of the five cars left, the audit shows three are in poor condition and should be removed from the streets.

A 1999 Ford Taurus has four cracked tires and a long list of other problems.

A 1998 Ford Taurus has bad brakes, a broken windshield gasket, and major repairs are needed.

Another Ford Taurus has numerous problems, including four dry-rotted tires.

“It’s a huge safety risk for our students,” said school board member Glen Sturtevant. “We were really served a bill of goods and can’t use those assets.”

The assets are desperately needed for workers to track down students not showing up for class.

“The effective truancy programs have been the programs that have worked one on one with students to reach out and let them know that somebody cares,” said former state superintendent Dr. Bill Bosher.

For now, RPS is using cars from other departments to get by until new vehicles can be purchased as leaders look for ways to improve.

“The plan is to do a better job than has been done in the past,” said Sturtevant.

The audit also finds employees were hired by the city at a higher salary than budgeted.

School leaders say they’re working to address the problems and find permanent solutions.

To view the entire truancy budget audit, click here.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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