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Superintendent: RPS 'stretched to breaking point,' expects operational delays after COO resignation

Richmond Public Schools
Posted at 7:29 PM, May 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-01 19:32:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As Richmond Public Schools has major construction initiatives underway, Superintendent Jason Kamras said operational projects in the district will be delayed following the resignation of his highest ranking cabinet official.

In an email to school board members, Kamras said the current RPS Chief Operating Officer submitted her resignation, effective late May.

"Despite my best efforts to retain her, she felt she could not effectively perform her duties given the current political climate, in which she has felt harassed, undermined, and demeaned," Kamras wrote.

The move comes as the superintendent and school board majority have been at odds over several pressing issues including construction of a new George Wythe High School, rezoning of River City Middle School, and the board's rejection of a Chief Wellness Officer appointee.

Kamras told school board members he wants to be clear "that many operational projects will be delayed, as the team is already stretched to the breaking point."

However, School Board Chair, Dr. Shonda Harris-Muhammed, said rebuilds of Wythe, Fox, and other projects will not be impacted by the absence of a Chief Operating Officer.

"We have a capable and experienced facilities department and construction team in place that can continue with the projects," Harris-Muhammed said. "Working together as a team will determine the pace we remain on with all projects in Richmond City Schools. Collaboration within our division is key. Richmond City Schools, like other divisions, will move forward."

CBS asked if the school board intends to fill the position as soon as possible.

"The school board will address and determine how we move forward in the immediate future regarding the Chief Operating Officer position and the direction the school board intends to take with filling the position," Harris-Muhammed responded.

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