RPS School Board Meeting- March 2, 2015

Here are some of the highlights from the 3/2/2014 RPS School Board meeting.

Public Information

During the Public Information session, board members heard from citizens on topics ranging from expressions of gratitude for the public apology made at Huguenot High School, statements of support for Dr. Bedden to stay in Richmond, and calls to ensure teachers are compensated if there is an extension in their work year.

Academic Improvement

3.01: Dr. Thad Williamson, director of the Office of Community Wealth Building, presented on the Anti-Poverty initiative to increase access to quality early childhood care and provide scholarships and incentives for post-secondary education. Plans included a collaboration between RPS policy makers and early childhood education providers to build a more stable network.

Three needs for college access were also articulated: 1) provide opportunities to low income families to attend and succeed in post-secondary institutions, 2) strengthen Richmond’s college-going culture, and 3) make RPS more appealing than suburban schools. Steps to achieve this included creating future centers in high schools where students can receive individualized help and planning for life after high school, in-college support at post-secondary schools, and financial assistance to attend community colleges and eventually four-year institutions.

Board Action

4.02: Board members received the Superintendent's Estimate of Needs for the 2015-2016 school year with a proposal of $164.7 million coming from City Taxes. This resulted in a tied vote of 4-4 (Mrs. Larson was not present). Since board members have to pass a budget to be sent to City Council by Friday, March 6th, there will be a special meeting this week concerning the budget.

4.03: Board members received a proposal for new school start times. The proposal originated from concerns that students were not receiving optimal levels of sleep (8.5-9.5 hours) which could affect physical and mental health in addition to academic performance. New school times for the 2015-2016 school year would be 8:00 a.m.-2:45 p.m. for high schools (except for Community High School that will start at 7:45 a.m.), 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. for middle schools, and 9:00 a.m.- 3:45 p.m. The motion passed with a 8-0 vote.

4.04: Board members received an action for Board training with the State. This would be a collaboration with the Virginia School Board Association and RPS for all board members to receive professional development training to learn about school improvement methods for Thompson Middle School. The motion passed 5-3.

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