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RPS Budget Letter from Kim Bridges

Last Monday, the Richmond School Board adopted its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Its final version came under fire (Times-Dispatch “Richmond leaders disappointed in school board budget”) for not adopting more of the Mayor’s school finance task force recommendations.

1st District respresentative Kim Bridges responded to criticism in a letter to RPS and 1st District School supporters, saying “I was struck by how the perceptions conveyed in the article differ so much from the reality I experienced and the work we completed.”

She emphasized that “the majority of the Mayor’s Task Force recommendations WERE incorporated into the adopted School Board budget.”

The School Board decided that 6 of the recommendations were not feasible for the upcoming fiscal year, including the recommended across the board class-size increase, recommended cuts to Assistant Principals and Guidance Counselor salaries, the recommended additional health care cuts, and recommended outsourcing/managed competition for two departments.

Bridges argues the School Board, City Council and Mayor should have come together for a

…healthy, in-depth, and transparent dialogue to answer the fundamental question: What is the appropriate and sustainable funding level for education as a key city priority? We cannot rely on a consultant or a task force to answer this for us.

Bridges’ full letter is available to read here, and the adopted budget here