When will Richmonders decide they have had enough of the unrelenting reality show known as the City of Richmond Public Schools?
When will we get mad enough to demand that those whom we elect to represent us on the School Board, City Council and Mayor's office realize that we are their bosses? When will we inform them -- in clear and uncertain terms -- that the money they claim as "the Mayor's money," or the "Council's money" or the "School Board's money" is really the taxpayers' money?
How high do people have to be able to count in order to realize that the $150 million being discussed here tonight is not really all that much when it comes to building schools?
If the award-winning Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies could be renovated and transformed into a state-of-the-art public school for $17 million dollars, why can't we use some common sense and make the best use of this money by renovating existing structures to meet the needs of 21st Century learners?
How can anyone think that they will be able to build a brand-new elementary school for $25 million when 10 years ago we spent roughly $33 million each for the three newest schools in our system -- Holton, Miles Jones and Blackwell?
When will we have leadership capable of thinking outside the box who can come up with a plan to build a new building that can be home to both a state-of-the art high school and an alternative school we can use to help children learn the behavioral and learning skills necessary to stay in school and become productive citizens?
Why can't we include a Governor's School for Career and Technical Education and a workforce training academy in this same structure that will ensure that when our children leave school, they will have a way of getting a job, making independent lives and becoming successful citizens?
When this RPS administration and members of the previous School Board voted to close schools in the Third District and in the Seventh District, there were promises made about the necessity of redistricting so we could have data driven decisions. Has this happened?
What has this board and city government done to make productive and adaptive use (or reuse) of the old Armstrong High School building, 13 Acres School, the Real School, Norrell Elementary, Whitcomb Elementary, Patrick Henry Elementary (which is a whole other story for another time) or the Westhampton Building?
How much did this board pay in legal fees and expert reports to attempt to make the roofs water-tite on the now not-so-new three elementary schools, Holton, Miles Jones and Blackwell?
How much did we waste on the Westhampton Building when we knew we were going to be closing the school? Don't even get me started on what is -- and is not -- happening with efforts to make the City's schools comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
I have heard much talk about the $750,000 Facilities Study the citizens of this city paid for on behalf of the schools. Why was no action ever taken against the makers of this report for not including any recommendations to make our schools comply with the ADA?
This board and the city administration need to get together and do some homework so the taxpayers of the city can see some creative and productive work happening. If you don't, there will be consequences for this failure when those chickens come home to roost.
The consequences I allude to here are not the stuff of lost elections, but rather the moral burden of failing, yet again, to act in the best interests of the children of this city.