Since January 19th, when I first wrote about the ADA concerns confronting the Richmond School Board and the fledgling charter Patrick Henry Charter School, RPS and PHSSA lawyers have been talking and working diligently behind-the-scenes to resolve issues.
After engineer and blogger extraordinaire, Jonathan Mallard, first reported that the RPS administration had failed to include PHSSA in the budget currently under consideration and Style Weekly's Chris Dovi asked some tough questions of RPS and reported about why PHSSA had been left entirely out of the budget, School Board chair Kimberly Bridges apologized to the PHSSA group for "the oversight." She vowed to do her part to improve communication between RPS and PHSSA. (To her credit, Bridges also reached out to me to discuss my concerns about the ADA and PHSSA).
Now, comes official word that on Tuesday, RPS administrators (at last) released a "projected" per-pupil allocation of $1.3 million to PHSSA.
Still, the future is far from secure for RPS and PHSSA. Given the current financial crisis confronting all public schools in Virginia, a "projected" per-pupil allocation does not a promise make. PHSSA still faces the considerable challenge of raising at least $266,000 in the next month and need to obtain a loan to make the necessary building renovations. To see the presentation that PHSSA made to the school board, click here.
Kristen Larson, public relations spokesman for PHSSA, reports that since January 19th, Chris Dovi at Style Weekly, Jay Mathews at The Washington Post, Holly Prestidge and Bart Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch have all helped make Patrick Henry's plight more visible. A reporter from The Wall Street Journal even called and interviewed her.
Apparently, the people at PHSSA have found their own "Inner Big Dog" and mayhaps a few new "bigger dog" friends, too.
Now, if only we could get RPS to explain why and where they have spent more than a million dollars on "design costs" for ADA improvements in the district. But, more on that in a future posting.