Richmond School Board decides against closing two schools - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Richmond School Board decides against closing two schools

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The Richmond School Board is now scrambling to come up with $1 million after a cost cutting plan fell through. Board members voted in the 11th hour of Monday night's meeting not to close two schools originally on the chopping block.  

Parents say they're glad their kids will still be able to go to Clark Springs Elementary school; however, school board members will still have to find the money they would have saved by closing it down. 

Michelle Goodnight simply wants the best for her daughter who will attend Clark Springs when she's old enough.  

"I think it's a good idea to keep it open," said Goodnight. "I didn't want them to close it down. My brother is doing well at the school. It's a good school for all the kids and their environment." 

School board members voted five to four in favor of not closing Clark Springs and the Adult Career Development Center - this is the place all drop outs will go to get re-established into Richmond Public Schools. School Board Chair Jeff Bourne knows the board must cut costs elsewhere. Right now, it's simply too early to say if students or teachers will feel the impact.

"Well I think that's always a possibility when historically you look at the amount of money Richmond Public Schools has had to cut in the last several years just like all local governments have, " said Bourne. "Our goal was to keep the classroom harmless and that will still be our goal. It will just be a little tougher this time."

It's difficult especially when the school has already trimmed administrative positions and education programs. The motion to keep both schools open erupted at the last minute Monday night.  Some members said they needed more time to digest the issue, but board member Glen Sturtevant says the rezoning committee spent roughly a year looking at closing schools and the current board already spent months studying the issue.  

"Now, if we've got to go back and find $1 million, my concern is that being forced to do that may have a negative impact on classrooms and for me that's unacceptable," said Sturtevant.  

The board initially talked about closing schools because there aren't enough students to fill them. Most of buildings are at least 50 years old and simply too expensive to maintain.   

School Board Members are going to discuss how they're going to come up with the money at their next work session Monday April, 29.

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