Final Thoughts: Part 2

Final Thoughts: Part 2

In the last post, my rambling about love for Mama J’s pound cake, RVA-Richmond, and change adverseness was long enough to fulfill my own patience for a newsletter update. Here is part 2 and the conclusion of my “Final Thoughts.”

Peace and grace be with you.

Final Thoughts: Part 1

Final Thoughts: Part 1

But before I depart, I wanted to provide a few takes on Richmond. Will it be 1860s bridge or 1950s streetcar burning-style (double burn), or will it soothe the body like the first bite of a Mama J’s pound cake? You will have to read and find out.

A Fond Farewell

A Fond Farewell

It is with mixed emotions of sorrow and excitement that I write to you today. June 29th will be my last day in Richmond because I will be departing for Portland, Oregon.  My wife and I are uprooting from a place and people we have truly come to love and call home for the past decade, to be closer to family and seek new job opportunities for this next stage of life.

Cigarette Tax Explained: Quick Hit and a Long Drag

Cigarette Tax Explained: Quick Hit and a Long Drag

An $0.80 cent per pack cigarette tax dedicated to school facility maintenance will generate roughly $5M per year. Read the analysis and recommendation from our Policy Action Team and how you can voice your opinion! 

Wading Through the Smoke

Wading Through the Smoke

Richmond Forward’s current project’s goal is to remove the barrier of failing school facilities, holding back at-opportunity students in Richmond. This edition of The Latest includes an update on a cigarette tax for school facility maintenance proposal.

Cigarettes and Equity

Cigarettes and Equity

Meals tax generates $150 million for school facilities and the fight is on to find the rest. Read about the upcoming debate over a cigarette tax and what it will take to achieve equity for Richmond students. 

Meals Tax Extravaganza

Meals Tax Extravaganza

In this meals-tax-for-schools edition, our goal is to help you sift through the arguments, lay out the basic facts, and provide a personal take with links to Meals Tax FAQ responses and RVA Dirt’s terrific analysis of alternative funding options (our Money for School Facilities document is coming soon).

2017 Reflection

2017 Reflection

We started 2017 with a focus on unlocking the language of government (policies, regulations, and budgets) to serve others in advocating for change. This directive, led us to set an ambitious list of goals. Read our 2017 recap to see where our journey took us! 

Action, Fast Action on Facilities

Action, Fast Action on Facilities

After a slow moving process, we’ve experienced a rush of action and stand today with an approved facilities plan by the School Board! Like all things in life, the story is complicated. A big thanks to the RTD’s Justin Mattingly for covering this process with serious detail; we will be referencing his work frequently in this recap.  He’ll help us along the journey. 

Superintendent Landed, Facilities and Compact Taking Off

Superintendent Landed, Facilities and Compact Taking Off

The School Board is heading into a facilities discussion this Thursday, Nov 27th at 6pm. Hooray! But, with incomplete data on their options (read about later in update) it's unclear whether a final decision will be driven by politics or quality planning.

Whether the School Board goes with larger or smaller schools, we need to base decisions off of quality planning to keep from repeating past mistakes. For example, the 2007 facilities plan became overly political, Broad Rock Elementary was built too small and became overcrowded within the first four years.

Please contact your School Board member before Nov 30th at 6pm and ask them to request data behind Plan A and B (updated enrollment, capacity, and financial impact details) to inform their decision. You can one-click email them on the homepage or call today!

Facilities Plan Background

Facilities Plan Background

In this update we provide information to help address concerns raised at the November 6th School Board meeting, but as we wait for Superintendent Kranz to release recommended options, we need your help to remind the School Board to act in 2017.

Before the meeting on Monday, November 20th, please contact your School Board member to approve emergency facilities actions before 2017. You can contact them via email (homepage), or phone (School Board). 

If you want to go next-level, please show up to City Hall, 2nd floor Council Chambers, at 6pm on Monday to speak during public comment. Also, we need more of voices of those directly impacted by failing school facilities, so reach out and get them into the conversation.

Our government will only be as accountable as you make it. The time to speak out is now!

Thriving Richmond Survey

Thriving Richmond Survey

Before we have another meet up to establish a common agenda for 2018, we decided that a survey could help us (1) identify areas of common cause and gaps, and (2) begin to identify priority action steps to inform future discussion.

Please complete one survey per organization/group by next Friday (11/24) at Noon.

The survey will take 15 minutes to complete. Information gathered will be shared collectively within the Thriving Richmond network.

Thriving Richmond: Next Step

Thriving Richmond: Next Step

Good budgets and policies will only be as sustainable and accountable as we, the public, make it. That’s why it is imperative that we build a collective impact network in Richmond.

If you are interested in being a part of the Thriving Richmond organizing team (STAY RVA, Support Our Schools, Building a Better RPS, and Richmond Council of PTAs) that will help determine next steps, show up to Urban Farmhouse Scott’s Addition on Wednesday (November 8th) at 4:30pm. Contact Rupa Murthy at email or (804) 683-3796 with any questions.

November 6th, Your Voice

November 6th, Your Voice

Budgets are important because they show our real intentions. We, the people, need to let our elected representatives know that next year’s budget (and Capital Improvements Plan or CIP) is where we demand to see major action on school facilities. The problem, is that we’re running out of time.

If ten (10) people were to speak during public comment at the School Board meeting (17th floor City Hall) on November 6th at 6pm and call for action on school facilities, the immediacy of this issue would be remembered. From my analysis, we need the School Board to (1) endorse a list of facilities actions (e.g. new construction, rezoning, community schools, etc.), and (2) appoint members to the Education Compact.

Arrival

Arrival

October 16th was supposed to be a big day for school facilities action. Now, the earliest action would be November 6th. We can't sit idly by and wait. I encourage you to voice your concerns to the School Board or speak during public comment tonight!

On November 7th your vote will decide whether the School Modernization referendum's short-term required action is necessary to overcome Richmond stagnation, or whether trust in Mayor Stoney's Education Compact will provide us the institutional change we so desperately need. Read our analysis to help inform your decision.

Thriving Education in Richmond

Thriving Education in Richmond

We know that schools alone cannot achieve the future of a world-class education system in Richmond, as challenges in transportation, housing, the economy, poverty, racism, immigration policy, criminal justice, the environment, physical and mental health, all directly impact the classroom.

It’s time we gathered to deconstruct the professional and class divides within or community. The divide of RVA and Richmond.

37 Days

37 Days

To realize Mayor Stoney's promise of fully funding phase one of the facilities plan, the School Board has 37 days to endorse a plan of action. What schools are included? How does it all get funded?

Join with us to hold our elected officials accountable in solving our most critical issue.