RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The RPS School Board held a special meeting to take action on Superintendent Jason Kamras’ employment agreement and voted to renew his contract.
His employment agreement has been renewed for four more years. He will serve as superintendent from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2025. Kamras became superintendent for RPS in 2018.
The school board meeting was held virtually. The board remained in closed session for an hour before returning to the public meeting, discussing the contract renewal for close to an hour.
Every board member spoke, with some raising concerns about the districts leadership, and speaking on specific areas of concern within the district, such as teacher retention, graduation rates and equity.
“We should want to work to see measurable improvements for all of our children, all of them, and we shouldn’t rest until we see significant movement in that direction,” explained Elizabeth Rizzi. “No one to my knowledge, wanted Mr. Kamras and his administration to leave, we just wanted more time to see them get closer to achieving our dreams, our children’s for RPS. This instead has become a proverbial line in the sand.”
Rizzi, along with Mariah White and Kenya Gibson voted no.
Among those who did and did not support the renewal, the word “accountability” was mentioned several times. The board agreeing there is work to be done for the betterment of students within RPS.
“We are on the right track but we must deal with the facts - we know this work continues, let’s continue to work together because our children, our young people deserve it, they deserve better than this,” said Dawn Page.
Page brought forth the motion to renew Kamras’ contract for 4 years.
Prior to the vote, a growing campaign and discussion in support of Kamras had been taking place in the city.
A car rally planned by the ‘Keep Kamras Campaign’ was held Saturday. More than 1,700 people signed a petition calling for the renewal of his contract.
“Sign the petition to #KeepKamras in Richmond to allow him the time to do the job we hired him to do not even three short years ago. Our kids do not need more transition and turnover, thinking the next person will be a silver bullet, only to have to build trust, communal vision, and relationship all over again,” the campaign wrote.
In statement, Mayor Levar Stoney said he applauds the RPS boards decision.
“I love our students and families and staff very much. I want to be clear, I am the very first person to say, we have an enormous about of work to do. I want you to know I am boundlessly optimistic, I remain so about our ability to do so. I am not going to lie, it is not going to be easy, but I am certain there is nothing we can’t achieve if we all work together. I am eager to do exactly that. After all, we don’t have any choice, our students are waiting,” said Kamras. “I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart, now let’s get to work.”
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