Board member says it’s time to ‘tear’ school closing bandage

Posted at 8:16 AM, Jun 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-03 12:47:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Richmond School Board member Kim Gray said it is time for the city to "tear the bandage off." She is referring to the need to act quickly instead of continuing to prolong the school board's decision to choose which school buildings to close in order to save the district money.

According to Gray, the school system has too many buildings when compared to the number of students in the city.

"Our school system was built for 50,000 students and we have 23,000 to 24,000 right now," Gray said. "We need to take buildings offline. They are very costly to maintain and to staff."

Gray said failure to act to this point has impacted the quality of education children in Richmond receive.

"We've been dragging out the possibility of closing schools for too long. Our children are paying the price," Gray said. "I'd like to see more resources going into the classrooms."

Monday the Richmond School Board will consider whether or not to close Clark Springs Elementary School, Albert V. Norrell Elementary School and the Adult Career Development Center (ACDC).

Norrell Elementary School is currently home to a city pre-school program. According to the school system's website, the pre-school program is slated to move to Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in 2015.

If Clark Springs were to close, the students and staff would be moved two miles away to John B. Cary Elementary School.

At Monday morning drop off, many Clark Springs parents made it clear they did not want the school shut down.

"It's kind of a family here," said Charles Jones, who has two children at Clark Springs.  "You take that away; you take away a whole lot from the kids."

"Elementary school is where the dream starts.  That's where the dream starts for kids," said J.D. Robinson.  Robinson added he hopes parents make their voices heard before the school is closed.

A public hearing session will be held at 5 p.m., ahead of tonight's Richmond School Board meeting. The meeting will take place on the second floor of Richmond City Hall.