Richmond leaders seeking public input on mayor’s education compact

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond city leaders are assuring the public that progress in city schools will not depend on Dana Bedden, the superintendent who will part ways with the school district in June.

They say success depends on better collaboration within city government a concept outlined in Mayor Levar Stoney’s Education Compact.

It wasn’t a packed house Tuesday night, but it was an involved group of people looking to have their input. Tuesday was one of many public meetings hosted by city leaders to talk about the compact.

“We really want to lift academic achievement to a different level in Richmond,” said Thad Williamson, Senior Policy Advisor for the Mayor.

The compact involves all elected officials working together: the city council, the mayor’s office and the school board. It’s a concept that’s resonating with school supporters.

“To have everybody be on the same page would be fabulous,” Susan Hawes said.

It would have everyone on same page, with specific goals.

“The compact really gives us an opportunity to make sure that the bench marks we are spelling out, the goals we want to achieve, that they are focused on those areas that parents say this is what I want to see happen in order for my child to get a good education,” said 6th District City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson.

The mayor’s office also said the change of leadership with Bedden’s resignation won’t have an impact.

“As long as the communication remains strong between the elected officials, school board officials and the mayor, we will make this thing work,” Williamson said.

Thad Williamson.

Supporters said the key isn’t really who is in-charge, but who is willing to participate.

“The success will ride on the community’s involvement truthfully,” Susan Hawes said. “The community needs to step up and be involved. You can’t leave everything up to your elected officials.”

The compact already addresses graduation rates, extracurricular activities and emotional support for students, but officials said community input will make sure they don’t miss anything

“This is the chance to change the narrative in the city of Richmond,” Williamson said. “From one where it’s always been about the conflict and the problems, to the story where we are working together to solve common problems because we know we have to.”

There will be two more public meetings this week:

– Wednesday, April 26th at 6 p.m. East District Initiative, 701 N. 25th Street
– Thursday, April 27th at 6 p.m.Ginter Park Library, 1200 Westbrook Avenue

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