RICHMOND, Va. — In "one last" attempt to compromise with the Richmond School Board over plans to build a new George Wythe High School, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he will introduce an ordinance Monday night to City Council that will propose construction funds for an 1,800-student facility.
Stoney and four members of the Richmond City Council held a press conference Monday morning at City Hall to announce their plan.
The school board and council have been at odds over the population size of the proposed school building for George Wythe students, holding up the transfer of $7.3 million in taxpayer funds for its construction.
The school board has proposed a facility for 1,600 students, while many council members believe it should accommodate 2,000 students. The two bodies have repeatedly failed to reach an agreement.
"I can't and I won't support the approach that ignore population trends and demographics," said Stoney during the press conference. "I won't support building a new school with temporary, modular classrooms attached."
Following the passing of the ordinance, Stoney said there will be a public hearing and vote on April 25.
"We all have an obligation to put our children first," said Stoney.
"It's never been about pride or politics. This has always been about the families on the Southside that deserve our best," said Councilman Michael Jones, who represents the South Central district, during the press conference.
If the school board agrees to the proposal, the $7.3 million will be transferred to them for the construction. But if they don't, the funds will remain in the city's capital account — which Stoney said means there won't be a new school at all.
This is an investment of our taxpayer dollars for the next 20 to 30 years that needs to be done in a way that looks toward the future," said Councilman Andreas Addison, representing the West End. "A future that many children in our schools today don't know what it looks like. And, for me, this investment is about that, making sure we show Southside a cutting-edge investment and a brand-new school that will grow with them.
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