SPECIAL REPORT: What is really wrong inside your child’s school?

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Some Richmond public students are taking a stand against what they call “life-threatening” conditions inside school buildings. Students have made their displeasure known to city and school leaders outside City Hall, during council meetings and on social media.

They said they will continue to speak out until they are satisfied Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones has received their message.

“We should be more of a priority than we are right now,” Open High School student Levi Bane said.

“Mr. Mayor, I would like you to know that the students are watching and the students know the decisions that you’re making and we are not satisfied,” Open High School student Kelvin Tyler said.

The teens said they were not satisfied with recent decisions to put money and effort towards projects like bringing Redskins Training Camp to Richmond, a new baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom and investments in the Altria Theater while city schools continue to crumble.

What is actually happening inside Richmond schools that has students so upset? We took cameras inside several city schools to see for ourselves and questioned a Richmond School Board member about the conditions we saw.

“This took decades to get to this point and it has been neglected for tens and tens of years and several cycles of elected officials,” Richmond School Board member Kim Gray admitted.

Gray provided CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall with a letter the school board sent to city leaders last May. It questioned city leaders about their decision to allocate less than $1 million for repairs at 50 schools when the board requested $8 million.

Also, an assessment report of school facilities shows the district is in need of at least $100 million right now to fix everything from the brick exterior at John Marshall High School, to the vinyl asbestos floor tiles at Woodville Elementary.

Some of the problems have even become critical since that report was drafted, like an emergency roof repair at Fairfield Elementary, after a soggy ceiling tile fell on a student.

CBS 6 also obtained a letter from RPS Superintendent, Dr. Dana Bedden sent to Richmond’s Chief Administrative Officer, Byron Marshall. In the letter, Bedden is requesting more than $700,000 for “capital projects that have approached emergency level,” like a roof replacement at Thompson Middle School and additional fixes at Fairfield Elementary.

Hall went to Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones about the snowballing school repair issues. Jones says, “You have to determine if you’re going to spend a lot of money fixing up a building that is ultimately going to be mothballed.”

Jones recently agreed to give the school system more than $18 million for building repairs over the next five years, beginning with $5 million later this year. Before more money is given, Jones says he wants the school board to shutter some of its underutilized schools, which he calls a big waste of money.

“Nobody wants to close schools, but that’s the hard job they signed up for. They’re going to have to do it. They’re going to have to find a way, the most efficient and economical way,” said Jones.

Gray confirms, board members will explore shuttering some schools again, but says the mayor still needs to provide more money in the meantime to prevent hazards like the one at Fairfield Elementary.

Dr. Bedden sent CBS 6 the following statement as it pertains to school repairs:

“The condition of our school buildings and subsequent plan of action require a larger conversation between school leaders, city administration and the residents we serve about right-sizing the district. The overarching issue is defining the type of schools we want to have from both a qualitative and quantitative standpoint. Once that is addressed, we must then ask ourselves what are we willing to do and commit to make that vision a reality.”

What is the situation like in your child’s school? Click here to let us know via email or click here to leave your comments on the WTVR CBS 6 News Facebook page.

17 comments

  • manalishi

    It’s really a simple matter. Democrats vote for democrats based on their beliefs that low standards are acceptable as if who is to judge. They lowered the curriculum standards to ensure passing grades and make sure nobody gets their feelings hurt. They engage in a “waiver program” so teachers who fail the state standard can still pretend that fraudulent credentials are viable as well as protect those who are not useful. Then they set a behavioral standard (teachers, students, and parent) based on democrat politics.

    I submit that those who vote democrat have been stealing from the children for decades and still do it to this day (stadium fraud doesn’t help). These children will be tax raped for decades after they graduate to pay for today’s democrat follies. Listening to teachers, parents, administrators, Jones, and any other democrat whine about the failure the call achievement is only an indicator of the indoctrination into the same process. There is no leadership at any level.

    Bon Apetit

  • mmmm

    so manalishi, republicans are perfect? Based on your other comments on other stories I also want to know, do you think republicans dont commit crimes? because everytime a crime is committed you assume the person is a democrat.

    • manalishi

      It’s funny you mention it hummmmer, not much use for GOP establishment that capitulates to your party favor either. But even at that, do republicans commit less crimes? Yes, the evidence, statistics, and facts are overwhelming. Perfect, no. just on WTVR news alone, where are we, 18/1 ratio? Maybe we should just stick to voter identity trends,,,whoops, democrats again. Maybe we should talk pollsters, voting, likely, or unlikely,,,,sakes, democrats again.

      Hows about looking at schools, education success/failure, budgets, & corruption. Tell the truth and quit lying to yourself.

      Now wipe your chin.

      • mmmm

        and how do you know a person indentifies with a particular party based off the crime committed?WTVR reports what they want to report to make people like you to believe what they want you to believe. They report things in ways that shape public opinion. There is so much good going on and they only report a very small fraction of it. More crime is going on but they only report the ones they choose for you to know about. But I see you are as dumb as your leaders….Palin, McCain, Romney….your ancestors are failures, thats why the US is where it is today.

        No wipe YOUR chin!

      • manalishi

        Poor hummmmer, your knees must really hurt. Seriously, you didn’t know that CBS/WTVR was liberal MSM? What kind of flaming fruitcake blames the “media” for the crimes. The very basis of you and your mothers existence prove my first and second statement to this article to be absolutely correct.

      • manalishi

        But you did say “WTVR reports what they want to report to make people like you to believe” Chumped via innuendo.

    • David

      I would like to add the descriptive terms: naive, stupid, deluded, backwards, self-centered, juvenile, perverted, blow hard, and myopic to list a few of manalishi’s salient qualities. I suspect most would agree. Go figure why Athyns loves this jerk so much.

  • Glen Allen

    I do not know if it took decades to get to this point or if it has been neglected for tens and tens of years and several cycles of elected officials, but we DO know that this Mayor has known the problems his entire time in office, and that the media has provided extensive coverage of the schools needs while he has been in office. Meanwhile, he ignores the schools right along with City Council.

    Enough already with the imaginary numbers of tax revenue dollars a baseball diamond will bring the City. What about the kids that are in the school system today? Fix the problems you have known about, and fix them now.

  • Blackbeered

    Schools are eating our young.

    Teachers are unqualified and over-paid; and because they lack comprehension of the material they teach, teaching methods have been designed for them so that their incompetencies never surface.

    [This has never been more apparent than in the areas of math and science.]

  • BO

    whats wrong?1,giving kids too many rights.PC has forgotten a basic key to learning,teach is master,student slave.2passing without learning to make schools look better.3 need to allow spankings again.the students actually threaten and dare teachers to touch them.put the proper order back in place.

  • Matthias

    Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware
    of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider
    worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the
    nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without
    having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more.
    Thanks

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,027 other followers