Major overhaul could be coming to Richmond School Board

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- The 2016 election results could mean a complete revamping of the Richmond School Board if the current returns stick. As it stands, only one incumbent will retain their seat.

Scott Garnett, founding Member of Building a Better RPS, told 8News he's excited about the likelihood that the Richmond School Board will see eight new members come January.

"We've broken away from the old mold and I think that we're going to have some fresh ideas and I think we're going to work really well with Dr. Bedden," Garnett said.

The election results come after tensions surrounding a multi-million dollar budget deficit for RPS reached a fever pitch with parents, students and staff earlier this year. It's something 'Building a Better RPS' has worked diligently to stop through fundraising efforts, since May.

Councilwoman-elect for Richmond's 2nd District, Kim Gray, said she's not exactly surprised by the results.

"There's been a lot of turmoil on this board and I think the results are indicative of the shifts and personalities and the changes that we've had over the last four years.", she explains.

As it stands, Jeff Bourne of the 3rd District is the only incumbent to keep his seat. Dawson Boyer, Mamie Taylor, and Shonda Harris-Muhammed are all out.

In a statement, Richmond Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says he's excited to work with the new school board to improve the quality of education of all Richmond students.

I am excited to work with the new school board and look forward to collaborating with our governing body to improve the quality of education for all students regardless of where they live in Richmond. Progress takes time, patience and resources to overcome the many deficiencies that exist within the district.  While sustaining progress has been a challenge, the new board members can be encouraged that RPS continues to maintain more fully accredited schools than when this administration arrived, more students participating in early childhood education, extra-curricular opportunities, a lower teacher vacancy rate, decompression of the teacher salary schedule resulting in increased teacher compensation, expanded advanced course offerings along with many operational improvements that have made RPS more efficient and transparent.  However, the lack of requested funding to implement the academic improvement plan and facilities master plan over the past two years indicates that there is still a lot more work ahead of us.

Garnett says he is happy with the results and for the part his organization played in the race.

"If you're able to fix the schools in the City of Richmond, can you imagine the potential of the city?"

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