City takes step in right direction to address RPS funding issue, school board member says

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The fight is still on after hundreds of Richmond students walked out of class on Monday, demanding funding for education and protesting the proposed closing of several schools.

Last night, the Richmond City Council passed an ordinance to redirect school property sales back into the Richmond school district.

It’s a move that Richmond School Board Member Kim Gray says is a start in the right direction, but doesn’t fix the budget gap.

“That funding stream will help us fund our long-term capital needs, improvements in the building,” Gray said. “Things that add to the useful life of our buildings.”

While that money is allocated to the RPS capital budget, it doesn’t do anything for the school system’s operating budget, where that $18 million hole still looms.

It’s also where money for much-needed teacher’s raises comes from.

Gray, however, remains optimistic.

“I’m hopeful that the amendments that come forth in the final budget will have enough to meet our needs within our operating budget and get the pay increases that our teachers so deserve,” she said.

While Gray says at this point closing the proposed schools would be a last resort action that would take input from the board and from the public, some changes may be felt in areas like transportation.

Meanwhile, community members are working to make sure no Richmond schools are closed.

“We don’t want to just identify that we have a problem or we have a concern, but we want to also be at the table and be apart of the solution making,” explained former Armstrong student Chimere Miles.

“We and the kids are very serious about what’s going on in our education in the city of Richmond,” added James Jackson, another former Armstrong student

Alumni from Armstrong High School will hold a community meeting Thursday at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church starting at 6:00pm.

We did reach out to Mayor Dwight Jones’ office for comment but have not yet received a response.

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