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Superintendent, Richmond parents respond to scathing audit: ‘Nothing short of heartbreaking’

RICHMOND, Va. -- An audit released Monday showed that Richmond Public School's graduation rate is the lowest in the Commonwealth, something Superintendent Jason kamras calls "nothing short of heartbreaking."

The audits show only 75.39 percent of students are graduating high school after four years and the school system had a dropout rate of 19.53 percent, up 1.5 percent from last year.

The Richmond Public Schools drop stands in contrast to the state's graduation rate of 91.6 percent, which is up a half of point.

Karmas responded to the report that was released Monday by the Virginia Department of Education at the district's school board meeting.

“These were very difficult to read. I just want to say there's nothing wrong with the kids here at RPS and we the adults who were charged with caring for them have not done right by them for too many years,” explained Kamras.

Parents of Richmond Public School students say they're ready to see change.

“We need to update our curriculum. We need to update the way we look at hiring and recruiting teachers, we need to update the way that we pay our support staff,” said one parent.

“I’m glad that we undertook these reports so that we can have so starkly in front of us on the printed page, the challenge before us.”

Kamras says the district's strategic plan has many key actions to address these issues.

"It's impossible to make big and bold changes without ruffling some feathers along the way. So, I think there are harder days ahead of us as we do the work of leaning into these challenges, fixing them and addressing them on behalf of our kids," said Kamras.

Parents say it’s time for not only the school system, but the entire community to take a more aggressive approach.

Which is why some parents are applauding Superintendent Kamras for getting them more involved.

“He has included the whole community in the strategic planning,” said the parent. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen that happen and I do think that if we get the funding and support for this plan we can make all of our students successful.”