RPS decides on re-zoning plan for 2020-21

RPS decides on rezoning plan for 2020-21

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Some students in Richmond will have to change schools next school year.

The school board had four options and voted to move forward with Proposal Y, which can be viewed entirely HERE.

That decision came at Monday night’s school board meeting in front of a packed house. The decision was made after nearly 60 public meetings to figure out what to do to make schools more racially balanced.

The school district did not move forward with the controversial pairing proposal. That's the idea of splitting up elementary schools for students to start at one elementary school and then transfer to another a couple of years later.

A long line formed before the vote at Green Elementary. Parents and community members wanted to speak out, leading to a more than two hour public comment period. People on both sides spoke out for and against re-zoning.

Some said RPS should do whatever it has to make sure all schools are racially balanced with equal resources. Others said they have no problem with balance but they just don't feel changing up students’ neighborhood schools is the solution.

"We can’t make these decisions in a vacuum. We can’t pretend that we can force people to go along with plans they don't necessarily support,” a parent told the board.

“The re-zoning process has helped initiate a lot of hard conversations that were needed because we all know the history of Richmond and the effects of slavery and redlining are alive and well today,” a local teacher added.

The re-zoning changes the board approved Monday impact schools on the southside. It mainly affects elementary schools but does not touch high schools. The only middle school affected is Martin Luther King, which will no longer enroll students from south Richmond.

These changes will happen next school year, but there are still some unanswered questions. The board is now left to decide what to do with schools on the northside. The clock is ticking since open enrollment for all schools is supposed to open later this month.

The board will come back together on Dec. 16 for a public hearing and then a vote.

After half a year of community debate, and an intensive $127,000 redistricting study, four rezoning options were under final consideration.

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