Richmond

'Unacceptable. Unacceptable': Parents lament lack of supplies during RPS budget forum

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- Richmond Public School Board members expressed the difficulty that certain budgetary decisions bring and their concerns about overspending during a public meeting on Monday.  

The board approved a new $300 million budget with raises for teachers at Monday evening's public meeting to discuss the district's budget. 

Parents in Richmond made sure board members knew their concerns regarding a lack of basic essentials in the classroom. 

"Unacceptable. Unacceptable," said Mariah White, a Carver Elementary parent. 

White's words complaining about the lack of toiletries in school restrooms echoed throughout the meeting. 

Many people at the school board meeting wondered if money was going to the right places. 

"Get the line-item budget for how much legal fees you're paying. I guarantee you're paying more for that than you are for toilet paper," said Kandise Lucas, a school advocate. 

"I don't know who dropped the ball and it doesn't matter to me who dropped the ball. But this needs to be fixed and immediately," said Mary Gresham, another Richmond Public Schools' parent. 

Gresham's daughter attends Thomas Jefferson High Schoool, a school that parents have complained about for some time about the lack of supplies. 

Other schools in the district are said to have gone months without toiletries and soap. 

During the school board meeting, Superintendent Jason Kramas acknowledged the issue impacted only a few schools in the district, and that the school system is already overwhelmed.

"I am not a magician. All I have next year is 1.5 million dollars for routine maintenance and repairs and whatever's leftover from this year," Kamras told the crowd. 

Board member Kenya Gibson was one of the three board members who voted against the new budget, sharing online that the board isn't properly funding essentials. 

Parents are taking matters into their own hands.

"I have to fight for all the little small stuff, the small stuff in the schools. Whose accountable for the small stuff in the schools," White asked the board.

The new budget goes into effect the upcoming school year, and of the $300 million budget, the City provided $12.4 million. 

Here's a breakdown of how school board members plan to allocate funds for the upcoming school year.

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