Richmond School Board meets Monday to discuss proposed 2017 budget

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond School Board is set to meet Monday night to discuss the city’s newly released budget.

Mayor Dwight Jones pitched the proposed budget to city council on Friday. The plan drew criticism from some members of council and the school board, who said that the administration has not made education enough of a priority.

“It’s not an aggressive enough plan to get our schools where they need to be,” said 2nd district school board representative Kim Gray.

The plan is a total of $709 million dollars. Schools will receive the same $11 million increase as last year. However, school officials had asked for an extra $18 million to pay for teacher pay raises and neglected buildings in need of repairs.

“We have tiles falling on children and other health and safety issues within our buildings,” Gray said, “and we need to act now.”

Mayor Jones proposed an alternative for aging schools: fee increases and spending cuts across city departments. His administration also pitched a new multi-year school funding plan that proposes setting aside 20 percent of all new real estate tax dollars to fund school construction and renovation.

“Basically the proposal means that when the city expands, so does funding for the capital needs of the school system,” Jones said at Friday’s meeting.

The mayor said Friday that he would immediately begin setting up a team to work on the plans and make sure that they are cost effective and sustainable.

The school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday. City council will meet with school board members again on March 14 to address the impact the proposed budget could have on school operations.

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