Survey: Improving RPS top concern for Richmond voters

Published: Oct. 14, 2016 at 2:56 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2016 at 7:08 PM EDT
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Levar Stoney, Jack Berry, Joe Morrissey, Bobby Junes, Jon Baliles, Michelle Mosby, and Lawence...
Levar Stoney, Jack Berry, Joe Morrissey, Bobby Junes, Jon Baliles, Michelle Mosby, and Lawence Williams (clockwise from top left) are vying for Richmond mayor.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Improving Richmond schools is the top concern for city voters, according to a new survey out Friday.

When asked their top priority, 93 percent of registered voters cited schools at their top priority. In fact, the majority of those polled gave the school system a C grade, in the ChamberRVA Mayoral Survey. The poll was conducted October 5 - 11 by the Southeastern Institute of Research and included 1,850 registered voters with at least 200 responses from each of the city's nine districts. The margin of error is 2.3 percent.

Eighty percent of the respondents gave Richmond Public Schools a C grade or lower, citing poor equipment and facilities (67 percent), poor administration and leadership (95 percent) and ineffectiveness in preparing students (52 percent).

Reducing crime and delivering basic services like trash pickup, street paving and pothole repair also topped the list of concerns. Crime reduction was deemed "important" or "very important" to 88 percent of those surveyed. Basic services scored the same number, while 87 percent said creating more jobs was "important" or "very important," followed by changing public housing (75 percent), improving public transportation (73 percent) and creating more recreational amenities on the James River (73 percent).

Respondents also stressed a need for regional cooperation when it comes to transportation (79 percent), public transit (77 percent), economic development (76 percent), poverty (75 percent), crime (71 percent) and workforce training (70 percent).

A new, privately financed downtown Coliseum was an "important" or "very important" priority for 63 percent of respondents.

When it comes to choosing the next mayor, respondents said "trustworthiness" and "honesty" were the most important qualities. Ninety percent want a unifier and someone who is respected, while 74 percent say the position of mayor should be that person's only job.

Respondents were also asked who they planned to vote for on Election Day. The results aren't final yet and will be available Saturday.

ChamberRVA is hosting the only live, televised Mayoral debate on Monday at the Altria Theater. Doors open at 6 p.m. NBC12, WCVE FM and WCVW-57 will broadcast the debate live starting at 7 p.m. and NBC12 will stream it live online and on the NBC12 News app and NBC12 News Facebook page.

The event is presented by Altria and is free and open to the public. WCVE-23 and WHTJ-41 will also rebroadcast the debate at 10 p.m.

NBC12 News anchors Curt Autry and Diane Walker will serve as moderators along with WCVE News Director Craig Carper.

The debate will feature the five candidates who achieved greater than 1% overall response rate according to the August 30, 2016 Christopher Newport/Wason Center poll. Those candidates in alphabetical order are Jon Baliles, Jack Berry, Joe Morrissey, Michelle Mosby and Levar Stoney. All five candidates have confirmed their availability to participate in the debate.

Persons planning to attend the debate should plan to arrive by 6:30 p.m. Doors to the auditorium will close at 6:45 p.m. Opening remarks will occur at 6:45 p.m. prior to the live telecast starting at 7 p.m. The debate will continue until 8:30 p.m. after the live telecast ends at 8 p.m. with an opportunity for questions of the candidates from the audience.

Additional sponsors for the debate include Capital One, Dominion, First Tennessee Bank,Hourigan Construction and KVCF.

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