Parents sound off over Richmond school redistricting

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–It’s less than a month away from the start of school, and when the first day of school comes, many Richmond students will head to class in an entirely new school.

On Monday, city school board members finished adjusting the boundaries for five Richmond elementary schools.

The city will have to implement those changes before school starts on September 3.  Not only that, but a lot of parents say they don’t know what school their child will attend. Those who do know are upset for a number of different reasons.

Parents sounded off on Wednesday, at the WCLM studios in South Richmond.

“When are we going to hold these officials accountable?”

“I had a daughter who was involved in this crap load of mess.”

Parents like Kimberly Jones are outraged, and said the district didn’t do its homework on one key issue – redistricting.

Jones insisted her frustrations are not just over the school board’s decision to close Clark Springs Elementary.  She said the school district hasn’t made it clear where her daughter and other students will go.

“This whole thing is so confusing because when I went to the school they didn’t even know my child was going there,” said Jones.

“I have not gotten my child’s report card for last year. The new school didn’t have it. The old school is closed,” said Jones.

Last month, school board members gave the green light to redraw the boundaries; despite protests from some angry parents and this concerned board member.

“It was just a matter of we make the decision and then we look to the administration to pull a rabbit out of a hat and make it happen,” said Mamie Taylor, 5th District School Board member.

Taylor is one of four who voted down the plan, saying the district needed at least 12 to 18 months to get it right. On Monday, school board members were still tweaking the boundaries for five Richmond elementary schools.

“To me it’s going to look like chaos,” said Taylor.  “How many students are going to be in an individual class?  What are our guidance counselors going to have to deal with to make sure that there’s a smooth transition?”

“That’s going to create problems probably for the first month of school,” she said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, spokesperson Felicia Cosby sent a statement to CBS 6 that said they “remain on task and are continuing to work diligently to ensure that our schools are ready…”

“While we recognize the uncertainty the recent school closures and newly approved changes to the district’s elementary school boundaries may cause, the entire RPS family–from the interim Superintendent and school principals to our human resources professionals and instructional specialists to our plant services and transportation staff–is committed to making sure schools open as seamlessly as possible and that our students have a great start to a wonderful school year. We remain on task and are continuing to work diligently to ensure that our schools are ready on Tuesday, September 3. If parents have any questions about zone changes, please don’t hesitate to contact the district at 780-7693 or visit the website at www.richmond.k12.va.us.”