An open letter on RPS facility needs

A call for Mayor Jones and City Council to fund urgent and essential repairs needed in Richmond Public Schools.

On Friday, the School Board of the City of Richmond sent a letter to Mayor Jones and Richmond City Council (PDF) asking for additional funds to complete urgent, essential repairs needed in our schools. These repairs (see itemized list at the end of the letter) are not frivolous, nice-to-have items but rather essential to the health and safety of our students, teachers, and administrators. Mold, lack of heat and air conditioning, and failing roofs are things that we wouldn’t tolerate in our homes and workplaces, and we shouldn’t accept them in our schools.

It’s shameful that our schools got to this state in the first place, but placing blame does not fix roofs. We’ve had enough press conferences and calls for yet another task force. We call upon Mayor Jones and City Council to take immediate action to protect the health and safety of the children, parents, teachers, and administrators of Richmond Public Schools.

We demand that you do your job and act in one of three ways:

  1. Fund all of the urgent school repairs.
  2. Fund some of the repairs by prioritizing the repair list. Create a plan to fund the remainder as soon as possible.
  3. If you think the list is exaggerated or contains non-urgent items, tell the public specifically which items you object to and why.

Once the immediate health and safety needs of the schools are met, then the School Board, City Council, Mayor Jones, and all Richmonders need to work together to make every Richmond school a place we would be proud to send our children. Richmond Public Schools needs a long-term vision, but the lack of one is no excuse to ignore the immediate needs of unsafe buildings.

Buildings with mold, lack of heat, and failing roofs are not places humans should live and shouldn’t be places we send our children to learn. School is a community responsibility, and it’s time for the Richmond City Council and Mayor Jones to take that responsibility seriously.


Sarah Milston and Sam Davies


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