School Board Meeting - October 19, 2020

The meeting begins with a moment of silence for a member of the transportation, who passed away ten days ago due to COVID-19.

The public comments continued for about 30 minutes, with parents once again still frustrated with the lengthy schedule, even with the new adjustments. One parent is frustrated with how undergraduate students have shorter days than her children.

Other comments showed their continued support for superintendent Jason Kamras. They found him to be engaged, calm, approachable, thoughtful, as well as transparent with all that is happening.

With public comments over, Milton Parker and LaTonya Hollowell presented their audit on seven schools and their principals and finance officers on the Student Activity Fund. There are errors in the work.

In response, the school board members thanked the team for their wonderful work. Barlow asked if this sort of auditing is normal for other school districts. In response, Hollowell said that for RPS, it is considerably high. As such, she pushed that these principals and finance officers must be trained.

Cheryl Burke thanked the team for the intense audit. She found this unacceptable, and looks forward to it being righted. Hollowell agreed, and said that this is why the professional development must be done right.

With the presentation over, Barlow quickly mentioned that the facilities plan should be looked over sometime by the board, and see if any improvements have been done, or should be. Kamras concurs, stating that on top of facilities, aspects of rezoning should be looked at as well, as two additional elementary schools will be open on the Southside.

The next presentation is by Ryan McAllister, the acting CEO of Secure Futures, a solar company. The company and RPS are moving onward to Phase 2 of solar installations on the roofs of school buildings. Even as of now, Richmond is the largest solar ray possessing district in the Commonwealth.

The presentation showed the different sites that were settled on, the size of the panels, and the size of roof needed. He also offered a timeline until installation, with another meeting with the school board on November 2 and December 7. If all goes well, installation will begin December 15.

Barlow asks if the political climate/election might impact the investment. McAllsiter stated that for the most part, there will be no real change either way.

The next presentation was by Michelle Hudacsko, the Chief of Staff, on the health and safety enhancements being added to school buildings. Additions have been made for public awareness, such as floor decals and other signage. PPE (masks, sanitizer, wipes, and gloves) are also readily available.

Facility enhancements have also been added, such as thermometers that can read up to 70 different temperatures at a time, as well as the bathrooms and air quality being improved.

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