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RPS board votes to move forward with own plans for new George Wythe High School

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 10:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 11:11 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond School Board has voted to proceed with their own plans instead of the city’s when it comes to building a new George Wythe High School.

After some back and forth during Monday’s virtual meeting, Jonathan Young suggested that RPS should have the authority to move forward with its own plans for the future of George Wythe; and the board agreed.

Young’s motion sets a capacity limit on the new building. Opponents say that means Wythe could be over capacity before it’s even built.

Even Superintendent Jason Kamras chimed in, saying he disagrees with moving in that direction; but in the end, the superintendent doesn’t have a vote.

At one point, he told the board too much time is being spent on discussing Wythe when the focus needs to be on the upcoming school year.

Regardless, the motion passed 5 to 4. This means the school board will not be joining Mayor Levar Stoney’s evaluation panel for the rebuilding of the school.

“We need to refrain from the personal attacks because we are a board, and we are here to work together on behalf of the students and families and the staff that we serve,” board member Dawn Page said.

But after three hours of discussion, this decision clearly was not an easy one for board members to make.

This decision essentially means the school board is controlling the process of creating a new George Wythe and will not use the recommendations that the mayor put out.

Instead, the board will do it themselves, likely delaying from Stoney’s target opening date of 2024 to what Kamras believes will be at least 2027.

Stoney released the following statement regarding the board’s decision:

“School Board members Rizzi, Young, Gibson, White and Harris-Muhammed have again stubbornly refused to hear the demands of the George Wythe community. Tonight’s vote doesn’t give students and their families any more reason to hope that a new school will be built one day sooner than the 2027 timeline outlined by the Superintendent. Our students and families deserve better.”

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