“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21 and Dumbledore’s Gravestone
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.
As seen in this RVAGOV image, October through December is when the public has the largest impact on the budget. For all the fanfare that comes with spring budget debates, very little actually changes.
At the School Board Ad-Hoc Finance committee meeting last week, Chief Financial Officer David Myers, commented that major capital campaigns (e.g. funding $200 million of a facilities plan) are usually started - at the latest - in summer. In Richmond, summer passed without action and now the crisp fall winds are upon us. We can still make this happen, but the School Board needs to provide their list of CIP needs to City administration as soon as possible!
Side note: We need someone to show up to School Board Ad-Hoc Finance Committee meetings on 4th Tuesdays. These meetings are highly important and will cover a wide range of topics as seen in the documents from their first meeting and agenda. Email me if you are interested!
On September 4th, Mayor Stoney promised to fund phase one of the facilities plan, once it was vetted through the Education Compact. With the School Board shelving discussion on the Education Compact appointment process at their October meeting, this further delays the time until Mayor Stoney and City Council can vet and approve funding.
Mason Elementary Promises
After massive public input received over Mason Elementary, the School Board promised action for a new school and set up the Ad-Hoc Finance Committee. Their original deadline to report back with recommended actions (e.g. new school construction, renovation, community schools, etc.) was October 16th. Well, that meeting provided disappointing inaction, and I’ve been told that Superintendent Kranz will present facilities information on November 6th.
Even if Mr. Kranz presents data, this doesn’t guarantee action. This is why the School Board needs to hear your voice.
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. If you can't make the meeting, be sure to call or email (homepage) your School Board member before November 6th.
Let’s make this happen!