Councilman offers support to Richmond charter school

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – With deadline's fast approaching to get Richmond's first charter school off the ground, a city councilman is stepping in to help.

Marty Jewell is offering to meet with school leaders to work out any issues with the new Patrick Henry School for Science and Arts. This school is slated to open this July but there are still a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved.

Councilman Marty Jewell used to be opposed to the Patrick Henry School for Science and Arts. Now he's a convert and he's offering to help get the school up and running.

"Schools may need some prodding to change; fundamental change, basic change that need to take place. And we seem to be caught in inertia," said Jewell.

Jewell is referring to a list of issues that still need resolution. Organizers say they still need the school board to sign off on the lease.

"Lease is crucial. It is very important to what we need in order to go forward and open in late July," said Antoine Green, Patrick Henry Spokesperson.

Renovation work is supposed to begin in April on the building; they're also still waiting on permits from the city.And there's the issue of making sure the building is complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"We've sent an ADA compliance plan to the school board from what I understand they are currently still reviewing it," said Green.

School Board Chair Kim Bridges said by phone school leaders are reviewing Jewell's offer and are still trying to make sure the school is ADA compliant. Jewell is hoping his attempt at mediation speeds up the process.

"Deadlines are looming permits have to be granted. Applied for and granted. There are just so many things that have to be done. We need to get urgent about it. Just get urgent about it," said Jewell.

The school's received 250 applications and only has 150 spots. A public lottery will be held next Thursday at 7:00. Other politicians are also offering their help. Governor Bob McDonnell will host a by invitation only fundraiser at the Patrick Henry School for Science and Arts on March 30th. 

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