RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond School Board members discussed how to ensure the playing field is more level for economically disadvantaged students during their meeting Monday night.
According to Superintendent Jason Kamras, specialty and governor’s schools currently do not reflect the Richmond Publis Schools district’s overall enrollment.
The results of a study conducted on the equity of admissions and enrolment at specialty schools indicated that the admissions process is currently underserving minorities and economically disadvantaged students.
Over the last year, school officials met with students and principals at these schools, surveyed former applicants and held several town halls to find a solution to the issue.
“We took the charge to come up with some recommendations for how we address this inequitable reality,” Kamras said.
Three different options were proposed for the board’s consideration. The first option presented involved adding two guaranteed seats from each middle school at these specialty schools. The second option suggested setting aside 50% of seats for economically disadvantaged students.
The final option — most enthusiastically supported by Kamras — was a combination of the two prior options.
Several board members expressed skepticism about the proposed solutions and raised concerns about them possibly being discriminatory.
“Why would we disadvantage the specific students because they reside in the wrong zip code?” questioned board member Jonathan Young.
Other board members were supportive of Kamras’ proposals, claiming that action had to be taken.
“I think a clearer way to walk the walk on equity is by adopting a proposal like this,” said Elizabeth Doerr.
The motion will be discussed further at the school board’s next work session on Monday, Sept. 18.