School closures back on the table in Richmond

Posted at 11:45 PM, May 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-13 23:45:50-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Some Richmond parents were furious with school board members just moments after the board decided to reconsider closing several schools.

“What we’re doing right now just isn’t right,” says parent, Gregory Day.

Day tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall that the school board's flip-flop isn’t right. Earlier this year, the board said it would consider closing school, then decided that it wasn't a good idea.

Now they're reversing their decision again, saying closing schools is the only way to fill a lingering one million dollar budget gap.

“I feel like it's better to make these decisions now as opposed to putting them off until later because we'll be right back here,  the same time next year, guarantee it,” says School Board Member, Dr. Derik Jones.

However, not all board members were on board with this decision.

“We cannot play this game. We can't play politics. I am heated by this,” says School Board Member, Shonda Harris-Muhammed.

Other board members, like Mamie Taylor, say timing isn’t right and wonder if they’ll get all the information needed to make this hasty decision.

“I mean, I’m still waiting to see what the actual savings might be. I can assure you, it won't be a million dollars and I can also assure you, these additional funds won't be spent the way people think they will be,” says Taylor.

Taylor and parents say making matters worse is Richmond City Council's decision to pay more than $22 million dollars for a new Overby-Sheppard Elementary School. It’s all part of the city's plan to revitalize that neighborhood.

However, they're wondering why the city can't fork over one million dollars to keep several schools open. “All of our schools need to be fixed. There's a problem in all of our schools. Give all of our children the same opportunity,” says Day.

The schools currently being considered for closure are Norrell, Clark Springs and the Adult Career Development Center.