RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools is getting closer to a plan for how it will handle the daunting problem of your kids attending over-crowded buildings that are falling apart.
Interim Superintendent Tommy Kranz presented new enrollment numbers to the School Board Monday night. With those numbers, the school board now has enough information to finally make some moves on this decades-old problem.
The enrollment trend is continuing - across the board, there are fewer and fewer students north of the river, and schools on the southside are bursting at the seams. RPS needs to do something very soon.
"The opportunity to fund a facilities plan is going to slip through our fingers," fifth grade teacher Chris Lombardi said.
RPS needs to give its facilities proposal to city council before next budget season, early next year.
Lombardi goes to a lot of school board meetings, and he's always fighting for better building and learning conditions for students.
"I reached a point in my life where I was tired of being angry, I guess, and I decided to take that energy and put it into something else," said Lombardi.
He teaches at Mary Munford, one of the crown jewels of Richmond Schools, yet he shows up and fights for kids at other schools in the city too.
"In this city, we really have to have the mentality that what happens to one school happens to everybody," said Lombardi.
Enrollment north of the river is declining, and enrollment south of the river is skyrocketing. Richmond has 22 buildings needing major or complete renovation, and 14 of those buildings have needed that since 2002. After years of kicking the can down the road, Lombardi is hopeful that this might finally be the year something gets done.
"There are people and groups within Richmond, amazing people and amazing groups within Richmond, that will not give up until everything is set right," said Lombardi.
The school board is looking at option five, a working proposal for which schools will close, which will consolidate and how redistricting might work. The major concerns option five addresses are still valid, but interim superintendent Tommy Kranz says Broad Rock Elementary and George Wythe are added to the schools that must be fixed immediately.
The school board will get a look at a draft about all of this in two weeks.
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