More funding in pipeline for schools

Mayor and superintendent agree on emergency needs

5/15/2014, 9:55 a.m.
Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones (left) and RPS Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden

Following a meeting between Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden, the mayor committed to providing an additional $732,000 in emergency funding for schools’ capital projects.

Bedden issued the Emergency Funding request at the Richmond School Board’s direction on Friday, May 9. The mayor met with Bedden this week to address the emergency request.

“Our first order of business was to reach our budget agreement with City Council, which we announced on Monday,” said Jones. “I’m very pleased that the compromise with City Council led to an additional $2 million being added to the $5 million in my budget for new funding for capital needs in our schools. This represents nearly a 700 percent increase in capital funding. The additional $732,000 requested is to be added to those funds, and I’ve committed to identifying those funds for the schools’ use.”

Jones and Bedden agreed that there was no need to initiate a special budget amendment to capture funds in the FY2014 budget as the work cited would not begin until after the school year ends. With schools dismissing in June, the July 1 fiscal year timeframe is workable. Jones will send a budget amendment to City Council at the start of the fiscal year.

“It is important to me that we keep the school system on track with the plan they gave us,” said Jones. “Providing the additional funds they need to attend to the items they have now identified will ensure that building needs are continuously addressed and the school system can focus on performance issues. I don’t want them to have any distractions that may take away from addressing performance needs in our schools.”

“On behalf of the students, staff and School Board of Richmond Public Schools, I want to thank the Mayor for his support of our request for additional funding to address our unplanned school facility needs,” said Bedden. “Individually, I am appreciative that the Mayor extended an opportunity for me to meet and discuss these and other school- related issues with him directly.

"Our charge, which the administration eagerly accepts, will be to ensure the effective and efficient use of this investment to create a better teaching and learning environment for our students and staff.”

Regular one-on-one update meetings are expected to continue between Jones and Bedden regarding school needs and school performance.