RPS seeks to rezone district to alleviate overcrowding, diversify district

RPS Superintendent on rezoning: “Loudest feedback sounds eerily like Massive Resistance 2.0."

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools is currently taking on a massive effort to rezone the district, with the changes set to go into effect in the fall of 2020.

RPS officials say two of the main goals of the rezoning is to alleviate overcrowding and diversify the district. RPS is projected to grow by more than 1,000 students over the next decade.

After an in depth study and recommendations by an outside consulting firm, four different rezoning plans have been unveiled.

Many RPS students will filter into three new schools that will open, currently under construction.

In ‘Option 2,’ students at Fox and Cary Elementary Schools would be combined into one zone, making both white and black students more evenly dispersed among both schools. Right now, Fox has predominantly white students and Cary has predominantly African American students. In the plan, Fox would also become solely for kindergarten through second grades. Cary Elementary would take third through fifth graders.

“My petition is in support of anything that will better integrate our schools,” said Shannon Lindbloom, who began an online petition to encourage equity, which she believes is demonstrated in Option 2.

Lindbloom has two daughters currently at Fox Elementary.

"If children go to integrated schools, the resources come with the integration, and their life outcomes are so much better."

Backlash has already surfaced online and at public meetings. Some parents saying they don’t want their child bused further away than a school that’s already in walking distance. There are concerns of ‘white flight’ from neighborhoods, and even property values dropping.

In online feedback about on RPS’s website, one parent writes, “We bought a house in the fan two blocks from Fox intending for our children to go there. If option 2 would be chosen... our family would be drastically affected... and we would either move out of the city... or have to send our children to private school.”

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras tweeted out earlier in the month, “The loudest feedback sounds eerily like Massive Resistance 2.0. BUT I’ve also received a lot of feedback from families of all backgrounds who welcome the idea."

CLICK/TAP HERE for more information about rezoning meetings that will be held this summer beginning Tuesday, Aug. 13.

The Richmond School Board is aiming to make a final decision as soon as November.

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