INTERVIEW: Safety, security, spending questioned with Richmond schools

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Another report is out on the management of the Richmond City Schools and it reveals more areas of waste.

The 34-month audit was conducted by the district's internal auditor and addresses problems related not only to spending, but also safety and security.

Style Weekly was the first to report on the audit and their editor, Jason Roop, joined NBC12 to discuss the contents of the audit.

Ryan: Jason, it's 43 pages, a ton of information in here. Not really one big smoking gun, so to speak, that stands out, but there are a lot of just little problems that could become big problems.

Jason: Right, there's 40 pages of suggestions and issues going on. We've already heard about a lot of manage many issues going on at Richmond Public Schools, the 500 computers found sitting in a warehouse waiting for students that weren't used, some three years old. Then the 5-year-old boy left on a bus. This just shows that there are many more management issues ahead.

Ryan: Normally when you think of an audit, the first thing you think of is money, but money isn't the only thinking that this addresses and I want to put this up on the screen. One of the things your report revealed, there are issues in terms of cost projections for service employees, up to $727,000 of problems there, but also on the other end of that in terms of safety, 20 percent of injured workers not wearing protective equipment. So it appears that this report runs the gamut in terms of the administration of the district.

Jason: Right. this report, it's important to notice about the plant services, these are the folks who do everything from mail delivery to pruning, to building maintenance, to painting, and they run about 55 buildings at Richmond Public Schools.

Ryan: And it's interesting because, you know, we talk about the wasteful spending perhaps, but this is not just an issue about the way the buildings are managed but also sprinkles down to the safety of some of students and let's put up this graphic as well. Your report revealed that 46 percent of the schools completed all their required fire drills during the first two months of 2009. Now, 46 percent completed them, that means that more than half didn't complete them.

Jason: Right. I should say that that's actually the first -- in one month, it went on for about 48 percent for the next few months, but yes, they're not doing what they're supposed to do according to state rules. And this is the school's own report, this is the school's own internal odd it does.

Ryan: All right. So you can see this report on and I'm sure we'll have more on it in the weeks ahead. Jason, thank you for being here.

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