Richmond school board votes to renew superintendent’s contract for four more years

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond School Board voted to renew Superintendent Jason Kamras’ contract for four more years. The board came to the decision in a 6-3 vote at a virtual meeting Monday night.

Before the 6 p.m. meeting, several Richmond Public Schools parents and students in support of the extension gathered in front of Richmond City Hall, holding signs, honking car horns and chanting, “Four more years.”

“We want to see his dream become a reality,” said Parent Rosalyn Gibson.

“He’s known me since elementary school. We have a great bond,” added Christopher Ervy, II, a seventh grade student at River City Middle School.

Board members Mariah White, Kenya Gibson and Stephanie Rizzi voted against the contract renewal for Kamras, who has been in the position since 2018.

Before the school board voted, each member spoke about their decision.

Elizabeth Doerr, who represents the school system’s first district, said RPS continues to move toward hitting goals in Kamras’ Dreams4RPS Plan.

“Our Honors enrollments are up and AP classes have increased by 50 percent. Teacher and staff satisfaction has increased by 10 percent year over year,” Doerr said, citing some of the improvements under Kamras’ administration.

Gibson, who represents the school system’s third district, voted against the renewal. “Performance aside, the terms of the contract also really impact governance and to that end, I would have voted in favor of either a two or a three-year renewal,” Gibson said.

Rizzi said there have been some achievements under Kamras’ administration, but she cited equity issues.

“Why are there so many fewer Black students attending some of our specialty schools than there were 10 years ago when my elder son attended? Why do some of my friends and other employees of RPS report being pushed out or being forced to work in hostile environments?,” Rizzi, who represents the school system’s fifth district, asked.

Kamras spoke following the vote, saying serving as the RPS superintendent has been the “greatest honor” of his life.

“I’m overjoyed that I’ll have the opportunity to continue serving for the next four years,” Kamras said.

He went on to say he and the rest of the school district have an “enormous” amount of work to do regarding COVID and beyond, adding that he wants to achieve all of the Dreams4RPS goals.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Kamras said. “Now, let’s get to work.”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney released a statement applauding the board for its decision. He said Kamras’ Dreams4RPS plan will help fix underperformance and dysfunction in RPS.

“After constant leadership shuffling, RPS families deserve the opportunity to let him see it through,” Stoney said.

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