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Chinese Company Buys Chemical Plant. Plans to bring in 376 Jobs

Governor McAuliffe announced on Tuesday that the Chinese based UniTao Pharmaceuticals LLC will buy the Petersburg area chemical plant. This project will bring in an estimated 376 jobs and invest 22.6 million dollars into the project. Read more at Times Dispatch

City Council Meeting Recap - October 13, 2014

In its first meeting since the September 14 resignation of Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall, Richmond City Council voted against the wishes of Mayor Dwight Jones by keeping the property tax rate unchanged. Council also voted to allow extended hours for a favorite music venue, and to retake several properties from the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Highlights Real Estate Tax - Ord. No. 2014-180 Council adopted this ordinance maintaining the city's tax rate at $1.20 per $100 assessed value. Ords. No. 2014-178 and 2014-179 would have lowered the city's real estate tax $0.01 to $1.19 per $100 assessed value. The mayor had favored the reduction to benefit homeowners, but

City Council Meeting Preview - October 13, 2014

This will be the first meeting of Richmond City Council since the abrupt resignation of Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall in September (see here for a breakdown of what the CAO does). The Stadium Mayor Dwight Jones has not made any substantial moves on his plans to build a new baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom since he retreated from his last attempt in May in the face of strong opposition from City Council. In this meeting, several resolutions being considered demonstrate that a majority of Council appears ready to move forward on development on Boulevard and in Shockoe Bottom without Jones. Res. No. 2014-R180 This resolution would express Council's support for the Shockoe Econom

Major landscaping effort planned for Dock Street

The plan seeks to spend over $800,000 to improve the area between Dock Street, the James River and Kanawha Canal. The improvements will include new gardens and trees. The city will cover around 25% of the cost and Capital Trees is raising funds to cover the rest. Read more at Times Dispatch

Council advances plan to seek bids on Boulevard redevelopment

A Richmond City Council committee voted Monday night to move forward with a plan to seek development proposals for 60 acres of city land off North Boulevard, a vote signaling that the council may no longer be interested in waiting for Mayor Dwight C. Jones to reintroduce his Shockoe Bottom ballpark plan. Read more at Times Dispatch

Richmond School Board approves interim principal for G.H. Reid Elementary

The Richmond School Board sided with its superintendent late Monday and approved a recommendation to name an interim principal at G.H. Reid Elementary School. Angela Delaney moves over from JEB Stuart Elementary, where she had been an assistant principal. She replaces Vincent Darby, who was demoted to assistant principal at Oak Grove Elementary after Reid slipped into "priority" status, a federal designation that comes with mandatory administrative changes. Read more at Times Dispatch

City Council discusses expanding council resources at annual retreat

At their recent annual planning retreat, the Richmond City Council discussed ways to be a more effective legislative body. Ideas included adding staff to the council and ordering a study to see how Richmond’s city council compares with other localities. Council members also discussed the possibility of full-time salaries for their positions. Any increase in council member salaries, however, must earn approval at the state level. Read more at Times Dispatch

Superintendent Dana Bedden guides RPS out of chaos

The new Richmond Public Schools superintendent, Dana Bedden, is seeking to make big changes in the city’s public education structure with the ultimate goal of making public schools better able to train future Richmond employees. Bedden has also increased his immediate staff from 2 to 11, with all new hires clearing a rigorous recruiting process. Read more at Times Dispatch

More than 30% of Virginia's schools fail to win accreditation

Poor Performance More than 30 percent of Virginia’s public schools failed to meet full state accreditation standards last year, a performance 7 percentage points worse than last year, Times Dispatch reports. The decline in accreditation partly stems from the increased difficulty in state academic standards. Richmond Schoools According to Times Dispatch, 11 of Richmond's 45 schools earned full accreditation, while most others earned accreditation with warning. Thompson Middle was denied accreditation. Due to unsatisfactory graduation rates, both Huguenot and John Marshall high schools earned provisional accreditation, since the two satisfied academic standards in all categories. School Board

Four Virginia colleges among biggest contributors to Teach for America

According to Times Dispatch, four Virginia schools are among the biggest contributors to Teach for America (TFA), a national program that helps school systems find temporary teachers for hard-to-staff positions. TFA will begin operating in Richmond next fall, making Richmond the first city in Virginia to welcome the program. The University of Richmond was one of the biggest small-school contributors to the Teach for America corps. Many of these new teachers were past Center for Civic Engagement mentors. Read more at timesdispatch.com

Reid principal fighting to keep his job

A Richmond elementary school principal who has been recommended for demotion because of academic declines at his school said he’s being singled out in a city in which dozens of schools have struggled in recent years. Read more at Times Dispatch

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