Could the RPS Board have found a surplus?

Posted at 12:02 AM, Feb 20, 2013

RICHMOND, Va ( WTVR) -- There was a little less steam coming from Richmond City Hall Tuesday night, compared to the school board's last meeting.

This time, there were fewer comments and more open seats, following the school board’s decision to scratch out the superintendent's proposal to outsource several departments.

“That's not an option for us and we're not going to outsource...period,” says Dr. Shonda Harris-Muhammed.

Dr. Harris-Muhammed says they may have struck gold after a lot of digging by school administrators on weekends and during lengthy closed door meetings.

“Instead of being in a deficit, it's very possible we could be in a surplus,” says Dr. Harris-Muhammed.

Other board members aren't as optimistic.

“I haven't heard anything about a surplus,” says school board member, Kim Gray.

However, Gray, like Dr. Harris-Muhammed, is optimistic about closing the $11.6 million budget gap.

“We're getting there,’ says Gray. She says they're getting there by eliminating a lot waste they recently discovered, primarily in the departments the superintendent wants to outsource; like transportation, security and maintenance.

“There are some areas in those budgets that can be shaved down,” says Gray

Board members say they vowed to begin the process of shutting down some underutilized city schools. “You're going to see change. You're going to see a lot of change,” says Harris-Muhammed.

The Richmond Public School Board must submit its proposed budget to the mayor by next week.