Mayor Dwight Jones fires back after school board criticizes city for not giving schools more money

Posted at 7:54 PM, Mar 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-29 11:42:00-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - UPDATE:  Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones answered questions about his proposed city budget amendments and other issues during a "community conversation" Wednesday night at the Virginia War Memorial.

Just five miles away, the Richmond School Board held a public hearing about its $24 million deficit.

The school board was blaming the city, in part, for not having enough money for the kids. Presenters uses a power point presentation to drive home the info and stats that the schools are short on cash.

The graphic shown to parents displayed how over the years, city revenues have increased, while the school's allocation has decreased.

Mayor Dwight Jones did not take that lightly.

"Our revenues are not going up, our revenues are going down," said Jones. "And the money we give to the schols continues to go up, and the population of the schools continues to go down.".

What's more, school board member Kim Grey says several of her colleagues don't think the city is being efficient with taxpayer's money.

"We have cut every year, millions and millions of dolalrs every year, and it's an unfair criticism," responded the mayor.

At the meeting, the school board rallied the public to encourage city council to give them the money because they claim they need the $24 million.

"If that's true, then we have to figure out a way to get the money," said Jones.

The mayor said he plans to check-in first with a task force he assigned to the school fiscal shortage

"I've got to find out for myself," said Jones.

The task force should complete their examination of the school budget by April 15, that's when the teacher contracts are due.

In a press release issued prior to the meeting, the Mayor's Office said Mayor Jones wanted to transform "public housing complexes into mixed income communities anchored by high performing schools."

Mayor Jones said his budget would protect basic services and preserve city's workforce. He said the city could find savings through employee attrition.

Those in attendance asked the mayor questions on a variety of topics including fighting drugs in their neighborhoods, lowering high water rates and improving city schools.