Richmond School boss: ‘You got millions and millions of dollars worth of neglect over years’

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RICHMOND, Va. - The time for Band-aids has ended, it is time for "real surgery."

That is how Richmond Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden responded to criticism that city schools lack resources for success and keep teachers and students in less than ideal learning environments.

"The five-year plan we've submitted to the city is trying to sustain and make functional the buildings we have right now, until we come up with a comprehensive plan that gets to which buildings are appropriate to renovate or which buildings need replacement,” Bedden said in an interview scheduled to air Wednesday afternoon on CBS 6 News.

The issues do not end with school buildings. Nearly half of the city's school buses are in bad shape, according to the city auditor. In response to the auditor's report, Dr. Bedden said Richmond will have 60 new school buses this fall. Bedden admitted it would take more time to replace the entire 200-bus fleet.

"It's a hole that we're trying to dig ourselves out of," he said. "It's just like the facilities.  You got millions and millions of dollars worth of neglect over years.”

Bedden said he planned to dispatch more resource officers in schools and that he supported random weapons checks, hand-held metal detectors and the use police dogs in classroom and school bus searches.

"No one thing by itself is the answer," he said. "But at the end of the day, a lot of things that happen in schools, someone already knew about it.”

Bedden said he planned to hire more translators and bilingual staff members to help combat low graduation rates among Spanish-speaking students. Only 49-percent of Hispanic students graduate "on time," according to the Virginia Department of Education.


  • Ron Melancon

    It’s about time someone stood up and told the truth! Yes the city of Richmond has mismanaged the schools and has caused this ness. Don’t go and blame president bush or Henrico County for your total lack if oversight. And you want to build a screwball stadium in the bottom? Listen up you need to fix your neglect first and admit you did not address the schools. Now you know why people home school

  • Clayton Bigsby

    Plenty of money for a stadium but non for the kids. Certainly there has to be a way Jones’ buddies can make money off of building schools too.

  • Ron Melancon

    It is the failure of the city. Let me tell you what people have done. Because of this you have parents who live in the city and rent an apartment in Henrico. 4 of them share the bills. One gets the cable. One gets the gas, one gets the phone and one gets the electric. The county only requires the address and only one bill. Because of the poorly run city schools Richmond city children are educated in Henrico and we the taxpayers pay the portion in out tax bills to pay for this illegal activity and as a result we now have a meals tax. At lest 2 percent of students in Henrico don’t not live here in Henrico but have found loop holes to escape the mess of Richmond City Public Schools . Can you handle the truth? Now that you admit maybe you will get out of your denial and fix the problems and people will move back and maybe trust public schools to give a quality education instead of banning chocolate milk and forcing crappy lunches to be eaten.

    • kim

      .. And maybe trust public schools? County Schools are public schools too.

      Tom, just shut up idiot. People sleep with each other in the workplace more than you may think. It’s not limited to rps if it happened there as you claim. Racist fool who is quiet when you get in front of a black person. Pure coward.

      Now, I agree that rps is crappy. Pure and simple. I am glad someone is coming in and attempting to clean up this inexcusable neglect.

      • Ron Melancon

        Yes I have proff but I am not going to rat out the people. Here is one remember two years ago a fire in a home destroyed a teenager ? She went to Henrico Schools but the home address was in Richmond!

    • Marie

      Wow, what an idiot! Stop judging a handful and making that the basis for all kids. The kids that want to learn are the majority. The media has you thinking the opposite because they glorify people who do the wrong thing. But you’re a dumb sheep who doesn’t realize that!

      • Robbie

        We spend more money on education than any other country yet our children rank far behind most countries. Whose the idiot now Marie? Of course we are slightly ahead of Somalia I’d bet.

    • athynz

      Is it that the kids don’t want to learn or that the libpros have put so many rules in place that they are attempting to make cookie cutter socialists out of kids?

      • Troll

        It is laughable that you somehow feel qualified to critique any educational institution. How are those two Jr college credits working out for you? “cookie cutter socialists” seriously? How did you get so arrogant and yet so stupid?

      • athynz

        And here we go again David. Who are YOU to tell me what I know and don’t know? Come and tell me this in person over a cup of coffee. Amuse me David and tell me how I’m wrong although like every other time you’ve been asked to come up with some sort of proof or opinion on the topic at hand you’ll sit behind your keyboard like the oh-so-brave keyboard warrior you are, whine, cry, and hurl more insults like you know anyone on here.

  • Ron Melancon

    Or here is another….. A family who works in Innsbrook but lives in three lakes park area. They don’t like the local school so they rent an apartment in the Gables now it has changed name. All you need is one bill and you get the electric bill. You drop off your child at Springfield farm ekementary. You go to work. In the afternoon Rainbow station picks up and goes to the location at church and three chopt. You get off work at 5 you pick up your child from rainbow station and you go home located by 3 lakes park. Do I have to get more specific than that? All you need is an address and just one bill. You even have after school homes in our area that are willing to let a parent put a bill in their name just to have a physical address . You don’t need to prove you own the home. Get it. I don’t get paid to disclose this it is not right you have people who know this but choose not to fix it .

  • manalishi

    I’m thinking this Bedden fellow may be ok if he defies every aspect of what is richmond, and just does the right thing. Let’s wait a couple weeks, if he is a man, Jones will fire him quickly for not toting his water.

      • manalishi

        Absolutely. Now would Dr. Bedden get a full court bad press for “non compliance” like Jewell and Tyler? Don’t forget how democrats operate,

    • Ron Melancon

      I commend this brave person from telling the truth and I think he is an amazing man that truly wants to fix this. Way to often we have complete idiots in power who do not disclose the truth. This man has told us the truth now let’s stand together and roll up our sleeves and instead if bashing the school system let’s make an honest 5 year plan to fully fund and fix the problems, This is my point we are Americans and we are a great country , and when this man comes out and tells the truth let’s work to fix it and rebuild the moral of each employee and in turn our children will get a better education and the system will get fixed. Each and every teacher and staff all know this but they did not want to say the truth because they wanted to save their jobs and besides who would believe? Now let’s identify the real issues present it to the city taxpayers let’s get their input and if an increase in revenue us needed then if the fix is open and the people see the TRUE need them most of us would not mind an increase in taxes so long as they see an open budjet. Let’s try this approach instead of behind closed door secret deals. Maybe our success can be a model for other school systems. Let’s fix this

  • Mr. Educator

    My favorite line from the article: “but at the end of the day, a lot of things that happen in [these] schools, someone already knew about it.”

    That’s an important piece to fixing public education in the city of Richmond. There are so many former principals and assistant principals (some “forced” into administrative positions) who sit like ducks in city hall, it is ridiculous. These people know through and through how broken things have been in the city schools, but it becomes so much easier to sit in an office with more pay and carry on as if the schools were functioning without flaw.

    I commend Dr. Bedded for not tolerating these indecencies. Improvements are on the way and the public has got to back this new administration!

  • Becky

    Here we go again. Government by Media. Seems Bedden is taunting Jones publically.
    Jones doesn’t like that, unless it can be used politically. The Issue: always More Money to
    cover Mismanagement. Build all new schools for Richmond and it won’t correct the incorrect mismanagement. It would indeed by interesting to see Blame actually placed on those actually responsible and accountable for the Executive Management of the City of Richmond. But that’s
    not going to happen. Hasn’t yet. Not in the face of dysfunctions, failures, scandals, debauchery, waste, fraud and abuse of taxes, and covert corruption to extort Taxes for favorite Tax Exempt
    Special Party, Special Interests. Corruption, Inc.

  • Robbie

    Hey boys and girls, Marie says “the curriculum has our kids so far behind other countries”. Be it far from me to dispute a school teachers remarks because after all “I’m an idiot” according to her. One question teach…what the hell are we spending all our money on? Salaries, no, you are poorly paid according to teachers. Sounds to me that the billions spent are wasted. What do I know, I’m just a well informed idiot!

    • marie

      It’s waste. Mismanagement of funds. We are not behind because kids dont want to learn as someone stated above.

      • Robbie

        Waste and mismanagement of funds! How about wasting and mismanaging some of those funds back into the pockets of the taxpayers.

      • Ron Melancon

        Robbie you make an excellent point. The issue is they blew it. So now people need to be fired and a solid no nonsense 5 year plan needs to be taken and the problem needs to be fixed. The sad news is yes Richmond your taxes will need to go up or additional revenues will be needed. If you do not do this then the priblem will only get worse. If you are not happy with this you need to fire your city council and get people who will find other area s to cut and divert into schools. If you don’t have good schools people don’t move in and if they don’t move into the city you have less tax revenue because your home values go down. Do you understand

  • Becky

    Give Marie a Job under the auspices of The Jones Mismanagement Group Enterprises, Inc., and
    watch her Fix It as Richmond’s Most Intelligent, calling all others idiots, who disagree with PC
    Correct-Mess, running rampant with Excuse Based public practices for any and all occasions.

  • burgster

    Too Many buildings are open and why do they need a fleet of 200 buses for a school pop. less than 24,000????

  • me

    Mo Money is always needed to subsidize, maintain, and sustain long-standing, allowed, and fostered dysfunctional government.

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