From the RTD:
Grass in medians and parks around Richmond is approaching a foot tall and higher, and city officials are telling residents they should not expect it to be cut anytime soon.
“We’re woefully behind,” said deputy chief administrator John Buturla, citing budget cuts that will be in effect until the new fiscal year starts in July. “We ask people to be patient. Between now and July 1, we’re really going to be in a critical situation.”
[ . . . . ]
Playgrounds, lawns around city buildings and Richmond Public Schools facilities will receive somewhat more attention. But Bobby Vincent, the department’s deputy director, said there’s no way he can meet what he referred to as an “acceptable public perception.”
[ . . . . ]
Buturla noted that rain over the past week has not helped the situation. But he attributed the problem to the council’s decision last year to cut $9 million in funding for vacant positions across city departments to increase the Richmond Public Schools’ operating budget. That included $2.7 million cut from public works, which had historically been used to hire temporary seasonal help to assist with grounds maintenance.
That’s left the city with 21 employees cutting grass, less than half the number of workers typically assigned, according to Vincent.
“(The City Council) took bold steps in order to provide funding for schools,” Buturla said. “We understand that. We’re living within our means.”
Vincent said the situation should improve in July, when additional funds will become available with the beginning of the new fiscal year, for which the City Council already agreed to provide a $300,000 boost to the department.
Original Article: http://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/article_a26af651-9a1d-524c-a963-7ba8dacccb33.html
From Thad Williamson, Director of the Mayor’s office for Community Wealth Building, on the JBC PTA Facebook group:
“. . . John B. Cary showed improvements in every area compared to 2013-14:
- Reading pass rate increased from 63% to 72%;
- History and Social Sciences from 73% to 92%;
- Math from 84 to 93%;
- Science from 71% to 74%.
As a comparison at Fox,
- reading pass score was 85%;
- History and Social Sciences 89%;
- Math 82%;
- Science 90%.
The scores for African-American students at Cary are across the board higher than those of African-American students at Fox (and much higher in math in particular). . . . . overall it looks like Cary did really well on the tests.”
More information can be found on the DOE website: http://doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2015/08_aug11.shtml
BPS can’t compete with this . . . . right, Dr. Bedden? Thanks for coming out! We’ve got so much more to do together and we hope you’ll stay as we continue to make RPS an even greater asset to our city! Your leadership is paramount to our success!
From Mamie Taylor, 5th District School Board Representative,
Our first 5th District Community Meeting for 2015 has been scheduled:
When: Saturday January 31, 2015
Where: 2nd Baptist Church- 1400 Idlewood Avenue, RVA. 23220
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Topics of discussion: The Academic Improvement Plan, Proposed Bell Schedule changes, and the Budget. There will also be an open topics period during the last 20 minutes to share any school related concerns or updates not on the agenda.
Food will be served…
I look forward to seeing you all then.
Mamie Taylor- 5th District School Board Trustee
From WRIC (Richmond, VA):
After weeks of heated debate, there’s finally a plan in place for one of Richmond’s most well-known schools.
Binford Middle School will now become an arts specialty and Spring Board college prep school.
Students from all over Richmond will apply to get in but those currently enrolled at Binford will stay.
Opinions on the new plan are mixed.
The original article can be found here: http://wric.com/2014/12/16/binford-middle-to-become-arts-specialty-and-college-prep-school/
Some have applauded the School Board for being decisive and making a decision, fearing that further delays would be detrimental. Other’s are concerned about the long-term implications of bringing in a program that requires students to apply in order to participate.
For some additional perspectives of the SpringBoard Program (created by College Board, the same organization responsible for creating AP exams and SAT tests), see these posts:
1. (2012) – http://www.gilbertwatch.com/index.cfm/blog/statement-against-the-springboard-curriculum-by-lorell-morrell/
2. (2009) – http://tbo.com/news/education-news/2009/mar/06/here-are-some-answers-about-springboard-ar-113144/
3. (2006) – http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/16/education/16collegeboard.html?pagewanted=print
Abe Jeffers, the director of secondary schools, gave multiple presentations over the past two weeks (alongside of several school board members, including Mamie Taylor – 5th District, Glen Sturtevant – 1st District, and Jeffrey Bourne – 3rd District) about the future of Binford Middle School. The proposals discussed can be found in this PDF document: School Board Options (Binford). (The RTD captured Dr. Bedden’s reasons for why these options were announced in the first place.)
Now the school board is seeking input from the community regarding next steps via a five-minute, online survey:
In related news, the Richmond School Board recently announced that Binford will be given a turn-a-around consultant, as mandated by the Virginia Department of Education. This appears to be a continuation of the VDOE’s requirements from the previous academic school year.
From the RTD article on November 8, 2014:
Richmond’s outdated, occasionally perplexing middle and high school attendance zones could change by next school year.
The city’s School Board is about to open the rezoning process, getting back to a task it began shortly after taking office in January 2013. The board completed elementary school rezoning that August but put off the secondary part while it searched for a new superintendent.
. . . .
The Fan’s Binford Middle School, with 214 students in 529 available seats, is likely to be significantly altered by next school year and could be in its last year as a traditional school. It might become home to one of the city’s specialty programs.
See here for the full article: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/education/richmond-school-board-discusses-rezoning/article_12c84f16-ff82-5d86-a712-cf9daf59b998.html