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.
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.
The School Board will hold a 6pm public hearing on Monday, July 31st at Mason Elementary to consider actions before the school year start. This has the opportunity to become a monumentally important step for Richmond for two reasons:
It represents this School Board’s first step and first opportunity to address long-standing facility needs.
The coalition of north, south, and west side Richmonders showing up to support the east side Mason community is a positive step in addressing our RVA and Richmond divide.
However, the School Board could just as easily vote to do nothing. Doing nothing is a choice to continue the status quo of a broken commitment to our children as realized through failing school facilities. This perpetuates the divide between RVA and Richmond.
It's time for you to stand up and make sure action is taken to move Richmond Forward.
Today we're in the same emergency situation for Mason Elementary. The difference is that it’s not the warnings of a facilities plan or Superintendent Kranz, but a coalition of Mason community members speaking up. It's up to us as a Richmond community whether we will stand in support to move these kids to safety. If we are serious about being ONE Richmond, we need to act now.