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Council questions Richmond school cuts

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – City Council members put the Mayor Dwight Jones-appointed Richmond School Accountability and Efficiency Task Force through the wringer at a meeting Thursday night at Richmond City Hall.

The meeting was supposed to be a presentation, but ended up being more like an interrogation.

Council members bombarded the task force with questions about their listed recommendations to close the school’s $24 million dollar proposed budget shortfall.

Recommendations included eliminating around 70 positions; increasing employee’s paid portion of health care benefits; a three-day furlough; getting rid of employee bonuses, and outsourcing maintenance and security services.

“Those two efforts must begin immediately, “said James Dyke, Jr., task force co-chairman.

In fact, almost every recommendation was coupled with a sense of urgency.

“Because some of these recommendations have been made before, but were never acted upon,” Dyke said.

As some school board members watched and listened, some council members wanted to know how the team arrived at the numbers, while others needed clarification.

The city council will vote on the recommendations in mid-May.

Jewel said this about the task force’s ideas:  “Some were good. Some were not. Some need to be examined.”

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