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Mayor Stoney says public owed better explanation about Bedden’s exit

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney made his first public comments about the early departure of school superintendent Dana Bedden at a public forum hosted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday afternoon.

Saturday, the School Board and Bedden announced they had reached a mutual agreement that the Superintendent would leave his post at the end of June.

Stoney thanked Bedden for his the work he did in Richmond, but said he supported the board's decision.

"I know that it takes time. As I said, I think Dr. Bedden has done a good job, and I thank him for his service. But I believe what they may be looking for is someone who is transformative. Someone who will take schools to the next level," Stoney said.

Teachers, parents, and city leaders have been critical of the way the School Board handled Bedden's sudden departure. School Board members have said they were ready to go in a different direction, but have not yet said what factors led to the decision.

Only 17 of the 44 schools in Richmond are fully accredited, and RPS is facing a civil rights investigation into the treatment of African American students with disabilities.  Skeptics of Bedden have also pointed to the district's failure to report $8.3 million in unassigned funds while asking the city for increased funding.

At Tuesday's public forum, Stoney called on the School Board to better explain their decision making process.

"Now I wish that the school board would explain a little bit more to the public, I think the public is owed that," said Stoney, who went on to call the situation an opportunity.

Under the agreement, Bedden will leave the district June 30.