‘It’s just criminal’: Mayor Stoney, Kamras hoping to fix deteriorating conditions inside RPS

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than 75-year-old boilers and radiators are inside Mary Scott preschool in Richmond. It’s equipment like this that caused some RPS students to go without heat this winter, school officials said. 

Mayor Levar Stoney says Mary Scott preschool perfectly shows the conditions some RPS students are dealing with. It’s why he’s asking city council for $19 million to improve schools like Mary Scott — but he has to convince the city council first. 

“To me, it’s just criminal that our kids are subjected to this,” Stoney said. 

On Thursday, Stoney, superintendent Jason Kamras and others brought 8News on a tour of the preschool they say desperately needs the proposed school funding. 

“The 19 million dollars will go to fix boilers like that, that are at least a third of the schools in the city of Richmond,” Stoney said.

The preschooler’s director says some classrooms lost heat this winter. 

“The children are cold so they either have to go through the entire school day in hats, coats, gloves or we have to double them in one classroom meaning we have to put two classes in one classroom,” said Johnnye Massenberg-Johnson.

Kamras says Mary Scott preschool wasn’t alone. He says “dozens” of RPS schools lost heat “and we will get dozens of calls over the next couple of months about air conditioning going out now that it’s becoming warm.”

The RPS public facilities director says his department has had roughly 120 service calls to Mary Scott since August. 

Massenberg-Johnson is just thankful city officials are trying to help: “To have a superintendent and a mayor going to bat for my babies makes me feel great.”

If city council doesn’t approve the full $19 million, the school board will have to decide which repairs are most important, and which schools get that money. 

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