City council members react to Dr. Dana Bedden’s sudden departure

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Councilwomen Kim Gray and Kristen Larson both served on the Richmond City School Board, and both wonder what led to Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden stepping down from his position.

Larson felt since there are new members on council and school board the city would move forward.

“I thought it was like an opportunity for Richmond to really embrace education and support Dr. Bedden and the plan he was trying to set forth for several years, but there really wasn’t a city administration to get behind him,” Larson said.

Larson and Gray also wonder why after 11 years someone drummed controversy over Bedden’s dissertation he had written as allegations of plagiarism recently surfaced.

RPS Superintendent Dana Bedden will part ways with the school district in June.

“Exploring it at this point, especially in the way that it’s being explored, I’m not sure it’s a meaningful exercise,” Larson said.

Gray added, “I think in Richmond it’s a tough environment for people. I think that’s not newsworthy, but that’s what we do in Richmond, we tend to eat our own. I think people are trying to justify their actions of last week and explain away why things were done so abruptly and quietly.”

Both councilwomen said finding a replacement for Bedden will be costly for Richmond, and even letting Bedden out of his contract will be expensive.

“I know he has, you know, two-plus years, two years left on his contract,” Larson said. “I guess that based on the date of separation that they’ve agreed to, you’re talking if you’re going to buy him out, for that cost we’re talking about over a half million dollars because his salary is about $237,000, and then you know there’s retirement, benefits and all those things. I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but it won’t happen for free.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.