RPS Superintendent: We can't keep patching outdated schools - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

RPS Superintendent: We can't keep patching outdated schools

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The Richmond Superintendent of Schools says it is time to stop "patching" outdated buildings. The announcement comes as students at Fairfield Court Elementary School are being relocated because of repeated roof leaks. 

"Your little babies are walking down the hall wondering why water is falling all over them," said Dr. Dana Bedden to a standing room only crowd Tuesday night.

A falling ceiling tile struck a Fairfield Court Elementary School fifth grader on the shoulder back in March. Four classrooms and two offices at the more than 60-year-old school were temporarily relocated. Now all students are being relocated to the vacant Clark Springs Elementary School. The move comes after more roof leaks were reported Monday. 

"It's just not a good environment," said Dr. Bedden. "It is an emergency. It is a crisis right now."

Bedden says the students will report to Clark Springs after Spring Break. They will remain there for the rest of the school year.

"But the real issue is that we can't keeping patching outdated buildings," said Dr. Bedden.

Former city council member Marty Jewell feels the city is more focused on recreation than education.

"Either way we are going to borrow the money through bonds," said Jewell. "Now are we going to borrow it to build a baseball field or are we going to borrow it to take care of our children? This is not rocket science. This is easy." 

Dr. Bedden is push a school-wide modernization effort.

"We need to bring someone in and do a complete rightsizing plan for the district," said Dr. Bedden who wants to see Fairfield Court Elementary merge with Woodville Elementary School.  "It would be nice."

Bedden plans to continuing push his message of revitalization.

"The District of Columbia has been building new schools. They are a large urban environment," said Dr. Bedden. "If they can do it...we can do it, too."

Dr. Bedden will hold a meeting for Fairfield Court parents Wednesday night at 6 pm. The meeting will be held at Clark Springs Elementary School. School leaders say transportation will be provided for parents who require help getting to the school.

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