RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Thousands of parents are not sending their kids to Richmond public schools, a fact the city is trying to change. This week city leaders took to the phone lines to get parents to give the elementary schools a second look.
There are 3 elementary schools in Richmond's 4th district and city leaders are reaching out to parents that may have chosen a private education versus a public.
There are 35,000 school age children in Richmond, but only 24,000 actually attend city schools. A number City Council President Kathy Graziano wants to grow in her district.
"We have really good elementary schools in the city of Richmond. We have a large population of people in the city of Richmond who do not use those schools, who have kids and we need to get those kids into the schools," Graziano said.
This week flyers were sent out to recruit students and thousands of parents got this message on their answering machines: "If you have a pre-school or kindergarten age child I want to tell you about a great opportunity."
The city is holding an open house at South Hampton Elementary. Adria Graham Scott is on the school board in the 4th district.
"What we're saying to them is come and look at us and see the potential for your child, where they can go," she said.
Graham Scott believes city schools have many of the traits parents are looking for in private schools. Like special programs that teach Spanish in math and science to kindergartners, individualize attention and small class sizes.
"We can and do offer a significant amount of partnership opportunities that bring. Very unique programming and curriculum opportunities to our students," said Graham Scott.
This is just one of many new efforts to get parents in the city to give city schools a chance.
"If you pick up the paper every private school there is holds open houses, recruits. We need to do that with public schools to," Graziano said.
The meeting is next Tuesday, December 7th from 6 to 8 p.m. at South Hampton Elementary School on Cheverly Road. Principles for all three of the elementary schools in the fourth district will be on hand to answer your questions.