RPS board decides on city school closures

Posted at 10:55 PM, Aug 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-07 07:24:05-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)-  The passionate pleas from Richmond parents and students went on for months, with many creating signs and stickers asking board members not to close their schools.

“I was thinking that I would put them into a private school and not even do the public school thing if they were going to close down. So, it was a very big decision for a lot of us,” said Crystal Burgess.  Burgess, who has two fifth grade boys at Fisher Elementary School, said the decision by board members took too long.  "We were really worried,” added Burgess.

“We got to vote on a plan,” said school board member, Chandra Smith.  Monday night, board members voted on rezoning plans for elementary schools on the city’s Southside, leaving Fisher and Southampton elementary free from closure.  “Nobody’s closing,” said Smith.  While no schools are closing right now, they still have to take a look at elementary schools in other sections of the city this fall.

Monday night, board members also ended a contentious debate with residents in the Hillside Court public housing community.

Residents there were upset because while new schools are being built within walking distance of their homes, the rezoning plan didn't have students attending those schools.

Instead, those students would have been bussed elsewhere.

“They were zoning warehouses to be able to go to the new schools. There are no kids living in the warehouses. We have abandoned dogs living in the warehouses. If you're going to zone it, zone it accordingly,” one parent said at the meeting.

Board members said they would allow the newly elected school board to handle rezoning for middle and high schools.