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RPS works to finalize rezoning plans for River City Middle School students

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 11:17 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Following Monday’s vote to rezone the over-crowded River City Middle School, along with Boushall, Brown and Binford Middle Schools, the race is on to finalize where students will wind up come fall.

Richmond Public Schools administration says parents who’ve applied for an open enrollment seat won’t have to wait much longer to find out where their student is going.

RPS Associate Advocacy Director Sarah Abubaker says the open enrollment lottery deadline for RPS elementary and high schools ended in March but was held off for middle schools pending the rezoning vote.

“We will now run the lottery for middle school open enrollment starting next week,” Abubaker said.

Of the 400 River City students to be rezoned, Binford will be accepting 140 6th, 7th and 8th graders. In addition, Binford will undergo a facilities assessment to make sure it’s ready to handle the increase.

While neither Brown nor Boushall will require a facility upgrade to accommodate additional students, RPS is allocating approximately $130,000. Brown is set to receive $25,000 for the 60 new students it will be bringing in, and Boushall will receive $75,000 for the 180 extra River City students attending next fall.

The remaining $30,000 will be used to add furniture, like desks and flexible seating, as needed.

For those concerned about the four middle schools opening at approximately 75% capacity, Abubaker says that was done by design to keep up with population growth on the southside.

“We’re basically giving ourselves three to five years of runway before we need to address rezoning or building another school on the southside,” Abubaker said.

The administration says that schools like Binford and Brown will be rezoned to accommodate more students. There are fewer seats that must be filled through open enrollment. They expect those open enrollment numbers to increase as students graduate from middle and high school.

Abubaker says RPS will also be ramping up its communication efforts with parents of students who will be rezoned.

“RPS is going to start pounding the pavement next week and reaching out to every family who has a child who’s being rezoned next year - that will include phone calls, home visits, and community meetings,” Abubakar said. “It’s about every RPS student having the very best educational experience we can provide them.”

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