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Schools, city leaders to discuss RVA Education Compact

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond School Board will meet Monday afternoon with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and members of Richmond City Council to discuss the RVA Education Compact.  The goal of the compact is to formalize collaboration between the mayor, city council, and school board in hopes of improving city schools.

The team will  examine and make non-binding recommendations on key issues, such as long-term funding of the operating and capital needs of schools.

"We have all these agencies, we want to have them work together to help the same families. We have City Council and School Board, we want to make sure they’re talking enough so each other knows what’s going on in each other’s department," Dr. Thad Williamson, Mayor Stoney’s Senior Policy Advisor for Opportunity, said. "We’re not mandating that the next superintendent do specific actions, that’s not at all our purpose for this stage."

The fact the meeting is taking place before the city hires a new Richmond Public Schools Superintendent concerns some in the community.

"We feel as though a superintendent, someone who is here to have a voice for our schools, for our teachers should be at the table for those meetings,"
Richmond teacher and a founder of Support Richmond Public Schools Jen Ramachandran said.

Public education advocates have asked Mayor Stoney to delay moving forward with the RVA Education Compact until a new superintendent is hired.

The hiring of a new superintendent is the focus of a 5 p.m. Richmond School Board meeting.

The board will discuss hiring a search firm to fill the void left when Dr. Dana Bedden leaves his post at the end of June. Bedden, who was hired as superintendent in 2014, was informed he would not be brought back for the 2017-18 school year. He had two years left on his contract.

Some teachers, parents, and city leaders had been critical of the way the School Board handled his sudden departure. But school board members said they were ready to go in a different direction, even though they didn't specify why.

Assistant superintendent Tommy Kranz will serve as interim superintendent until Bedden's replacement is hired.