Support Our Schools March to City Hall Tonight

Teachers and community members will march to City Hall to support the full funding of RPS by the city. Monday, April 25th at 5:15 PM. RPS and the community are invited to gather at Martin Luther King Middle School (1000 Mosby St., 23223) at 5 PM.

Richmonders of all stripes and types are organizing a march on City Hall later today to support full funding of Richmond Public Schools. All the details are below and can also be found at Support Richmond Public Schools on Facebook.

Full Press Release:

Teachers and community members will march to City Hall to support the full funding of RPS by the city. Monday, April 25th at 5:15.

RPS and the community are invited to join us at Martin Luther King Middle School (1000 Mosby St., 23223) at 5:00pm. We will begin marching to City Hall at 5:15pm and attend the City Council meeting which is scheduled to begin at 6:00pm. Transportation will be provided back to MLK at the conclusion of the City Council meeting with precedence for people with small children and the elderly.

We face considerable challenges here in Richmond. Richmond governance has historically underfunded the school system, which has in part resulted in the problems of yesterday compounding into the crises of today.Many dedicated teachers have left the City because of challenging work environments and inequities in RPS’s salary structure.  Combine this with the dilapidated state that many of our facilities are in, and it’s easy to understand why many thriving families move to the county for what they perceive as better educational opportunities for their children.  Even though the challenges are many, the phenomenal people of Richmond City Public Schools can meet those challenges head on if we work together.  We are starting to see a groundswell of support for public education from nearly every sector in Richmond.  Being at a crossroads, we can have a tremendous impact on the direction that education in the River City takes in the coming years.

The greatest action we can do to further Richmond’s efforts to combat poverty, reduce crime, reduce healthcare costs, raise revenues, raise property values, and tackle civil rights issues are to fully support our schools!

Why is this true? How does education matter to all (11% + 89% = 100%) Richmonders?

  1. Anti-poverty and public safety. Investment in quality Pre-K – 12 education directly reduces long term (and larger) costs associated with poor health, incarceration, unemployment, and cyclical poverty. Pre-K education, a quality teacher, and safe learning environment, are the key factors impacting education’s role in anti-poverty efforts.
  2. Economic development. Due to Richmond’s unique position in the real estate market, investing in education is the greatest catalyst action we can take to sustainably grow short- and long-term revenues (see attached chart). In the world of high-tech business attraction, an educated workforce is the primary factor in site selection.
  3. Civil rights. Richmond’s education system was built as “separate but equal” and setup to fail. Decades of disinvestment have led to continued disparities for Richmond’s higher-concentration of African American, Hispanic, and special needs children trapped in poverty. The budget and Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) is where our hearts are truly shown. We need to match money to our talk that education is Richmond’s top priority.

We are asking for the following actions this budget season:

  1. Shift general fund dollars to cover the additional $18 million requested by the school board. These dollars will pay for required federal and state mandates, help retain and attract high-quality teachers through long-needed decompression of the pay scale, and continue implementation of the Academic Improvement Plan.  It would also eliminate the need to close all of the proposed schools.
  2. Re-prioritize $68 million in FY17 CIP projects to provide $30 million for school maintenance and new construction. When compared to industry standards for maintenance investment ($3.40/SF) in the past 8-years alone, we’ve starved our system over $100 million by only providing funding at an average of $0.63/SF. Dollars for new construction will address immediate capacity needs which could drain an additional $19 million next year alone for outdoor classrooms in south-side Richmond.

It is important to know that there is 18.4M in additional revenue, yet no new monies have been allocated for Education.

For more information, please contact:

Keri Treadway
Cell: (804) 405-5495

Chris Lombardi
Cell: (804) 319-9161

Diane Marshall
Cell: (804) 426-2634

Jen Ramachandran
Cell: (804) 839-3972

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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