New superintendent talks "right-sizing" district - - Richmond, VA News

New superintendent talks "right-sizing" district

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A new conversation is starting that could change your child's education in Richmond. The new school superintendent wants administrators and the community to start talking about the possibility of "right-sizing" the district.

"Right-sizing" is a way of managing your resources and making the most of what you have. In a one-on-one interview Tuesday, Dr. Dana Bedden said in a district like Richmond with both financial and facilities concerns, this is an important conversation to have.

In recent months, we've told you about issues at local schools, some of which have actually disrupted your child's education and forced them to switch school buildings altogether. We've also been closely monitoring a budget negotiation where the system has practically had to beg for money to make fixes.

Now, Dr. Bedden says there is a question to answer--does the district pour money into aging facilities or close buildings and combine schools?

"So in our case, we can make a conscious decision to continue to run small schools and have a lot more overhead costs or we can run schools that are more comparable to our surrounding jurisdictions, which would eliminate a lot of the overhead costs," he explained.

Bedden says this is a not a quick process and will need to be discussed by everyone involved in the district.

The new superintendent is also considering making a new hire right now that could have a major impact on your child's education.

Dr. Bedden is looking for a "Chief Academic Officer" to help lead the district. What that person does could change how students learn.

"They can work collaboratively with our executive directors of schools to get a sound plan for how we supervise principals who then ultimately supervise teachers so we ensure there's quality instruction going on," Bedden said of the right candidate.

The Chief Academic Officer is one of several new hires Dr. Bedden is making. Last week, we told you of four other additions to RPS.

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