Despite additional pleas, RPS directs Kamras to move forward with hiring, planning for George Wythe High School construction

Richmond
RPS

Richmond Public School board members meet on Monday, April 19 to discuss school reopening plans. (Photo: 8News)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — At a Richmond School Board meeting Monday night, the body moved forward with creating several new positions and to begin recruiting for staff that will help get new schools built.

Virginia state code allows the school board to take control of construction. In a 5 to 4 vote, the RPS school board voted to do so last week.

The move happened despite pleas from Superintendent Jason Kamras, who estimates under the school board’s leadership, George Wythe will not be completed until 2027. He said the city was planning on sending a Request for Proposal out this week. That work stopped after the Board’s vote last week.

“Identifying the funds for these roles, writing the position descriptions, securing VDOE approval per our MOU with the state, posting/advertising, vetting/interviewing, and hiring/onboarding will take 6-9 months,” Kamras said. “Assuming the new team members are in place by the beginning of 2022, and that board takes a design-bid-build approach to construction, we should expect a new Wythe to be completed by the fall of 2027.”

However, supporters of the move say they do not plan on delaying George Wythe’s construction. Gibson said they are still waiting on a “reasonable” plan from Kamras.

“It would be great if the administration would put forth a plan that was reasonable,” Gibson said. “Being told that schools aren’t going to be built until 2027, that’s not reasonable. Being told that we need to hire millions of dollars worth of stuff, that’s not reasonable. I think that this is a reasonable ask, these positions, based on what other districts have done,” Gibson said.

Kamras said he is “just being realistic” with his estimate, but said he will get to work and provide recommendations for new hires.

“I have every intention of implementing the resolution that was passed,” he said. “It just takes time. I will put all of my energy behind whatever decision this body makes. I just want to make sure we have a shared understanding of what some of these actions take.”

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