On Monday, May 2nd at 1pm in City Hall, next year's funding for Richmond schools will likely be decided. This is the final City Council work session on determining amendments to the Mayor's proposed budget. Council has to agree on amendments to allow for advertisement of the final public hearing (Friday, May 13th at 6pm).
Note: Yes, its weird to hold a City Council meeting on a Friday night, but state law requires the school budget to be completed by May 15th. It's kind of like waiting to do your homework until the last minute.
Where are we at on the HUGE GAP between the Mayor and School Board?
So far, not great. The City Council amendments range from $18 million to $200,000 with enough votes to only support an additional $4.9 million for teacher pay decompression. The funding for teachers isn't secured until City Council can agree on how to fund this request, which will come from additional revenues or reallocating money from cuts to other proposed departments.
To aid City Council in this decision, the Richmond Forward Funding and Policy Action Team (comprised of residents and business owners, RPS parents, teachers, administrators, and volunteers) developed a "Budget Position 2016" plan to close the $18 million Operating Budget and $40 million Capital Budget (CIP) gap.
This plan is being communicated to all City Council members, but your help is needed. Before Monday (5/2) at 1pm, I need you to email or call City Council in support of closing the school funding gap. Whether you agree or disagree with our plan I encourage you to contact City Council. This was our attempt at A solution and might not be THE solution.
Before Monday (5/2) at 1pm contact City Council!
We've tried to make it easy, click on the image below and contact away!
Closing the entire $18 million operating will be a long-shot. With upcoming elections this fall, those running for re-election or Mayor will be wary to introduce new taxes, cut services, or disrupt any large-corporate backers. But, this is where the capacity built through the last few months of protests must come into play. The City Council must comprehend impact of a growing force that will hold elected officials accountable for greater investment in schools, spending transparency, and community engagement in decision making. Many in Richmond are speaking out that education is the top economic development and civil rights priority.
Council members running for office this fall should be ready to answer the following question:
When presented with solutions to close the funding gap to establish baseline support for teachers and fix crumbling buildings, how did you vote?