Mayor, superintendent beg City Council not to cut schools’ facilities budget

Mayor, superintendent beg City Council not to cut schools’ facilities budget

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Mayor Levar Stoney and Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras say students will continue to be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter if City Council cuts the mayor’s proposed budget.

“The children are uncomfortable, the teachers are uncomfortable and that’s not a very pleasant experience,” RPS preschool manager, Johnny Massenburg-Johnson, said.

Corroded, leaking and more than half a century old, Kamras says the boiler in the Mary Scott school has got to go.

“It’s a relic,” he said Thursday.

The spring sunshine is welcome now, but in the winter students shiver through class.

“They have to go throughout the entire school day in hats, coats and gloves,” Massenburg-Johnson said.

School leaders say classes often double up to share body heat, fitting 36 students in one room.

“It’s against federal regulations to have that many students in a classroom,” she said. School leaders choose to do it to keep these little kids warm.

“Every single one of our buildings have an issue,” Kamras said.

Some schools in Richmond have broken windows. (Source: NBC12)
Some schools in Richmond have broken windows. (Source: NBC12)

That’s why Stoney and Kamras say City Council amendments that cut money to the schools’ budget are the district’s kryptonite.

Three council members have already proposed cuts, which the mayor says would force RPS to choose between teacher raises or fixing facilities.

“They shouldn’t have to make those choices anymore,” Stoney said.

While many in the city complain of underestimated facilities costs, teachers and parents say it’s money well spent.

It’s now up to council to work out the mayor’s budget in work sessions. If his budget is cut, it’ll be sent back to the school board for more review.

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