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School board burdened with two crucial decisions

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–The Richmond Public School Board faces two crucial decisions; how to fill a $1-million dollar budget gap and how to fill the superintendent’s soon-to-be-vacated seat.

“Here we go again, making the same mistake,” says board member, Shonda Harris-Muhammed.

Some board members feel they’re moving too quickly in their quest for answers, creating room for errors.

“I want the ship to turn, but, if you turn it too quickly, you’ll sink it,” says board member, Kim Gray.

For instance, earlier this year, the board was planning to save $1-million dollars by closing two schools. It seemed like a quick, easily done deal.

That was until board members decided last week that they didn’t want to close schools. This put them back at square one Monday night, scratching their heads about what to do instead.

“We need to think and we’re not doing that right now,” says Harris-Muhammed.

While closing schools wasn’t gaining support, one idea seemed to be resonating with the board.  Tichi Pinkney-Eppes suggested the board vote to eliminate more administrative positions, especially with the superintendent resigning.

“We pay the people who sit in those positions pretty decent salaries,” says Pinkney-Eppes.

While the board still couldn’t come to an agreement about the budget gap, they did make some progress when it comes to filling Dr. Yvonne Brandon’s seat.

The board plans to hire a firm to search for candidates, but when it comes to the role of city residents in picking the next school chief, there was once again, a difference of opinion.

“We would do an injustice if we do not ask for student and teacher input,” says Harris-Muhammed.

“I think it’s problematic if you have it down to three people and that individual’s information is put out for public consumption,” says Gray.