Board votes to establish art, college prep program at Binford Middle

Posted at 10:59 PM, Dec 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-15 23:41:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A 6-3 vote by the Richmond Public School Board Monday night will establish both art and college preparatory programs at the under-attended school.

Some board members claim they were blind-sided by a last-minute proposal to keep current students at Binford Middle School while two new programs were added that would benefit the entire district.

“I feel like I walked in here being played one more time," said board member Shonda-Harris Muhammed. "I'm not voting for it. What concerns me is, communication is not being drafted to every board member. That’s my concern,” she told her colleagues ahead of Monday night’s vote.

Harris-Muhammed is one of three board members who voted against this new plan, which will now put a fine arts program at Binford, to be used by students throughout the city. The plan calls for a college prep program, while also letting current students remain enrolled at the school.

Initially, the proposal was to leave Binford as is, or send the more than 200 students elsewhere and use the building to implement a special academic program.

However, most parents and staff are satisfied with this decision.

“It seems like we're getting some long needed help. I have some concerns, but I’m going to reserve them for right now. I'm just glad they're going to do something,” said Binford Staff Member, Felicia Harris.

Binford is currently at thirty percent capacity and some students struggle academically.

School board members did note that this plan isn’t just about Binford, but a larger plan to boost academic performance in the city’s middle schools.

Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden will present a master plan in early January.