School Board reacts to Mayor’s Task Force

Posted at 11:43 PM, Apr 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-16 23:56:46-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) School board members met tonight over the ongoing discussions surrounding the $24 million dollar budget gap for Richmond Public Schools.

“Where was the work?” asks Richmond school board member, Chandra Smith.  The former board chair tells CBS 6, she was disappointed after reviewing recommendations to close the district’s $24 million dollar budget gap made by the Mayor’s task force.

Some of the suggestions include staff reductions, a 3-day furlough and a hiring freeze. “That’s something we were looking at already. That’s nothing new. With fresh eyes, you think there are going to be new ideas, fresh ideas and they paid somebody $35,000 for something we’ve already done,” says Smith.

CBS 6 analyzed a list of recommendations and a majority of the cost-saving measures were put forth by the school superintendent months before. The group tweaked some of those suggestions.

School board member, Maurice Henderson tells CBS 6, the school system wouldn’t be in this position if city leaders made more of a commitment. “The city has enjoyed increased revenue over the decade and the school system has continued to receive a decreasing share of the city’s revenue, “ says Henderson.

Mayor Dwight Jones says he wants to make sure such a large sum of money is being spent efficiently and responsibly. In fact, the mayor is rejecting some recommendations made by the task force and wants to provide the school system with nearly two million dollars to protect teacher aides and the summer school program. “I want to hold the classrooms harmless,” says Jones.