The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) and Richmond Public Schools (RPS) are partnering to offer in-school immunization clinics in February and March. RPS families are encouraged to sign the RPS-provided consent form and have their 6th and 11th graders receive their school-required immunizations ahead of the traditional Back-to-School season.
Richmond, VA – Last night, the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) School Board voted unanimously to appoint Ms. Shavonda Dixon as the School Board Representative for the Ninth District.
A Virginia native and dedicated mother of two, Ms. Dixon is a proud RPS alumn and graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School. She is a passionate advocate for serving the community and enriching the lives of children in Richmond Public Schools.
Ms. Dixon will be sworn in next week and will be seated at the School Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 20 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.
The Richmond City School Board and the RPS Administration welcome the release of the Monroe Park shooting report prepared by the Sands Anderson law firm and are grateful for the professionalism and sensitivity with which they conducted their investigation. Transparency is critical for a public entity like RPS and we look forward to sharing the information included in this report.
The Board initially voted not to release the report because, among other things, a majority believed the report included legal guidance that was exempt from release; wanted to uphold the promise of confidentiality made to RPS employees who participated in the investigation, and hoped to avoid taking any action that might jeopardize the ongoing criminal case against the alleged assailant.
We respect the Court’s decision and welcome the opportunity to share the report’s findings. We also acknowledge and respect the minority of the Board that advocated for the release of the report earlier.
Our shared commitment is to learn from this tragedy and continue to improve in order to further safeguard our students and staff. We already have taken several steps, including updating our policies about who can authorize students to participate in a graduation ceremony, revising our security protocols for all student events (including graduations), and investing millions in updated security infrastructure, including cameras, access control systems, metal detectors, intercoms, digital school maps for first responders, and more.
We want to thank everyone who participated in the investigation, and especially those who were closest to the student we lost. We also encourage students who may feel re-traumatized by the release of the report to let their school counselor or teacher know so that we can provide the necessary support. Similarly, we encourage any affected staff members to connect with a trusted colleague and seek out professional help from our healthcare provider. Finally, we ask all of Richmond to continue working by any means necessary to eliminate the epidemic of gun violence that afflicts too many of our communities. We owe at least that much to the children and youth of this city.
Stephanie Rizzi, Chair, Richmond City School Board
Elizabeth Doerr, Vice Chair, Richmond City School Board
Jason Kamras, Superintendent, Richmond Public Schools
Update January 23: Richmond Public Schools learned from Sands Anderson on January 22 that the transcript of the Superintendent's interview was inadvertently left out of the exhibits included as part of the documentation that the Division received from Sands Anderson. Sands Anderson collected all exhibits as part of their independent investigation. The Division received a copy on January 22 and is posting that now.
Following the release of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s FY24-26 budgets yesterday, RPS is dismayed to be facing a $5 million reduction in our current fiscal year’s budget and an almost-$21 million decrease in state funding for our next school year.
These losses are formula-driven — they are partly a result of the rise in our Local Composite Index (LCI) calculation. The remaining losses are driven by technical updates to the funding formula, including the removal of a ‘hold harmless’ following the loss of sales-tax revenue from grocery sales.
At the same time, however, the Governor’s budget fails to include any substantive new funding supporting the real needs of students across the Commonwealth and especially in places like Richmond where we have a diverse community of learners. We are doing them a disservice by not funding the infrastructure and services they need and deserve, like mental health staff supports, school construction and modernization, and additional English Learner teachers.
Overall, it does not provide the investment in public education that school divisions across the Commonwealth know and understand is desperately needed to recover from the pandemic and set all students — regardless of ZIP code — for success in the twenty-first century.
We call on the General Assembly to amend the budget to ensure that high-need school divisions are supported and at a minimum, receive no less funding in FY24, 25, and 26 than what they approved in fall 2023.