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Richmond school leaders increase teacher salaries, change start times

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 11:38 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools approved pay raises and school start time changes during a meeting on Monday evening.

During the meeting, the board approved a 3 percent salary increase for teachers. The increase comes in part due to additional funding from the state that came in.

School start times will also be changing for the 2021-22 school year. The new start and end times are as follows:

  • High School – 8:45 a.m. o 3:45 p.m.
  • Middle School – 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • Elementary School – 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • Preschool – 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

The district says the changes are to improve school achievement and literacy.

“This may result in elementary-aged students waiting for the bus when it’s dark out, so wondering if we had done any thinking about how we make sure that those kids feel safe while waiting for the bus stop?” board member Liz Doerr asked.

“We know that most younger students are escorted by an adult to the bus and to the bus stop, so our hope is that we would continue that,” Tracy Epp with RPS responded. She says the district is also looking at working with partners to make sure after-school childcare needs are addressed.

The board decided not to talk about Mayor Levar Stoney’s proposal on building new schools in the city during Monday’s meeting. Although there was discussion about in-fighting surrounding this issue.

“The community is tired. Enough is enough,” board member Nicole Jones told her counterparts.

Board Member Kenya Gibson proposed setting a date for the board to discuss how to move forward with school construction but the idea was shot down.

The board’s previous decision to take sole control over the school construction process could hold up re-building George Wythe High School.

Friday, the mayor released a possible solution to the debate. The letter included a four-point proposal to create a team of people from both the city and RPS who would be involved with the process. The school board decided not to address it publicly.

Switching sole control of the $200 million construction project could delay the anticipated 2024 opening of a new school building, according to Superintendent Jason Kamras.

City leaders say an official request for construction bids needs to be sent out no later than June 1 to keep up with the current timeline.

RPS approved a school budget that allows for the hiring of three construction managers to begin the process. Board member Dawn Page said the money to fund the high salaries could have been better directed to more pressing matters RPS needs to address.

This is a developing story.

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