RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney introduced an ordinance on Monday night that would give money from the city’s Capital Improvement Plan to Richmond Public Schools for design proposals for a new George Wythe High School.
“I believe the greatest opportunity for real progress still exists,” Stoney said at a press conference on Tuesday.
He then sent city council members a letter on Tuesday to provide more information about his plan and make them aware of the lingering questions he has regarding the George Wythe plans set by the school board.
In his letter, Stoney said that on Oct. 20 he reached out to the school board to ask if data supports their plan for a 1,600-student maximum capacity at the new school and if the community was involved in their capacity decision. The mayor claims that multiple sources indicate that more than 1,600 students would be zoned to attend the new high school.
He said the school board told him that some students would attend a new technical high school which would decrease the student population at George Wythe High School. In his letter, Stoney said that answer did not effectively answer his concerns about capacity.
“It has become clear that the School Board is unwilling to participate in a good faith collaborative conversation about building a new high school,” Stoney said in the letter.
He said communication with school board has been an issue since April.
“I continue to have reservations about the School Board’s planned approach,” Stoney stated.
He lists several questions for the city council members to have in mind as they decide whether to re-appropriate funding to the school’s design, those are:
- “Will a new George Wythe High School open over-capacity?
- Will it be over-capacity at any point in its first three years?
- Does the School Board have any intent to district to avoid overcrowding?
- Has the VDOE been notified of the proposed projects?
- Has the community been meaningfully engaged in the decision-making process to date?
- Did the School Board consult their attorney in advance of the November 8th vote to divert City Capital Improvement Plan dollars from capital maintenance to new school modernization?”
Stoney explains in the letter that he moved forward with proposing the ordinance to city council in hopes of prompting more involvement from the school board.
“Let’s put the politics aside and do what’s best for our children,” Stoney said.