Will RPS finish ‘bathroom blitz,’ hire dozens of teachers by Sept. 4th?


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With just over two weeks before students return to class, Richmond Public Schools faces a packed schedule to repair bathrooms and fill teacher vacancies.

8News first reported in July, RPS presented to the school board just over $10 million in urgent repairs needed at several schools. 

Monday night’s presentation to the school board from RPS Chief Operating Officer Darin Simmons Jr. shows the price tag now totals $10,670,000. 

The report shows the windows at Binford Middle School need to be replaced due to safety reasons, costing $1,000,000. 

The presentation shows RPS is currently replacing a 30-year-old roof at Fairfield Court Elementary costing $280,000. 

Simmons’ capital funds update also includes a request to buy nine buses totaling $771,000. 

The administration found 45 buses are 20 years old or older. 

The school board is also scheduled to receive an update on school readiness from Chief of Staff Michelle Hudacsko. 

Hudacsko’s report shows 16 schools in RPS have no vacancies, but 58 teachers still need to be hired including 24 at the elementary level. Nineteen classified staff still need to be hired, including custodians and nurses. 

In terms of the “bathroom blitz” the update shows RPS will have replaced 200 paper towel dispensers, 150 toilet paper dispensers, 150 soap dispensers, 244 faucets, 144 sinks, 20 stall doors, 200 stall locks, and 100 ceiling tiles by August 25th. 

But the work will continue into the school year. 

In a letter to parents on July 14th, Superintendent Jason Kamras promised all bathrooms would be fixed by the start of the school year. 

Superintendent Kamras will also present to the school board Dreams4RPS, the final proposal for the 2018-2023 strategic plan. 

The plan consists of 40 action items with no estimated cost. 

Proposed actions include working with the City of Richmond and the state to expand pre-school, revamp the pay structure so RPS teachers are paid at or above state average, and teaches working in the highest-priority schools are the highest paid throughout Virginia. 

The plan also includes creating an annual gala for teachers and planning another event to recognize outstanding students.

Superintendent Kamras wants to train teachers to conduct a home visit with each student.

Mental health will also take focus, making sure there is a nurse working in each RPS school. 

To reduce overcrowding, Kamras wants to create a rezoning plan. 

The strategic plan also calls for the launch of a “Director of Operations” in a number of schools. 

8News reached out to RPS administration for further details and are waiting for comment. 

The school board meets Monday night at 6pm. 

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