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Reports of city schools facing position cuts for next year (UPDATED)

June 14, 2015 10:06 pm by

UPDATE 6/15/15 2:50 PM:

RPS has released a statement about this. (PDF)

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UPDATE 6/15/15 2:45 PM:

RPS Executive Director of Secondary Schools Abe Jeffers was able to provide information on the neighborhood secondary schools this afternoon:

Armstrong HS and Franklin Military Academy have projected enrollments of 957 and 359 for the 2015-2016 school year. For next year, Armstrong is projected to have a student/teacher ratio of 20.80/1, and Franklin Military Academy is projected to have a student/teacher ratio of 14.08/1.

Armstrong will be losing positions in Spanish, band, choir, and ISS, and gaining positions in math, FACS, marketing, and art, for a net increase of 1 position.

Franklin will be losing positions in math, science, Spanish, and German, for a net decrease of four positions.

MLK Middle School has a projected enrollment of 747 for next year, with a student/teacher ratio of 21.65/1. The school will see decreases in math, Spanish, health/PE, and ISS positions, and gains in tech ed, art, dance, and drama, for a net decrease of 1.17 positions.

Not sure why MLK would be losing a math position. The school has a 28% three-year pass rate on the SOLS. Franklin Military is losing a math teacher, too, although they’ve not made accreditation in the subject in at least 3 years.

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Word is spreading across social media that many schools in Richmond Public Schools are slated to lose a number of teaching positions for next year. As seen on Facebook and shared on the Oregon Hill community blog, for example, it is being reported that award-winning Open High will be shorted 2 1/2 teachers for next year:

Our staff at OHS was just informed this afternoon that Open HIgh School for next year is losing 1 whole English Teacher Position, 1/2 of a Science Teacher Position and 1/2 of a Foreign Language Teacher Position (French), and 1/2 of the ONLY Fine Arts Teacher Position. The fine arts program will be slashed in half, leaving Brigette there only part time.

Organized parent groups are also reporting various cuts at Albert Hill MS, Lucille Brown MS, Community HS, and Thomas Jefferson HS, with many of the cuts coming in foreign languages and the creative and performing arts.

In an attempt to sort out what the facts of the matter might be, I sent an email yesterday to 7th District Schoolboard Representative Don Coleman, the RPS public relations email address, and RPS Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden asking if there were going to be cuts at East End schools. I received an almost immediate response from Dr.Bedden:

All of our secondary schools are going through what is called a leveling process which is based upon a school average of 22:1 staffing model.


Leveling: The leveling process involves adjusting the number of teachers at all schools based upon their enrollment figures and student course request. Changes, based on the difference between the projected enrollment, actual student enrollment and student course request result in the reassignment of core content and/or elective staff as needed to meet student schedule/staffing needs across the school division/district.

For example, the beginning of this past year, we had to move a large number of teachers to other schools to meet enrollment and/or staffing needs.

Given our limited resources and also “attempting” to make sure we have teacher assignments properly aligned with student enrollment and course request when school opens, some of the leveling is occurring now.

Additionally, we are hopeful this will minimize some of the reassignments at the beginning of the school year thus allow teachers to better prepare for the change, next school year and more effectively utilize our staffing resources within our “budgeted” resources. RPS still has an approx. $5 million gap in the adopted budget.

His email seems to generally acknowledge that cuts are taking place, in response to school enrollment numbers and the need to level the student/teacher ratio at 22:1.

A protest against the reported cuts is planned for 8AM Monday morning at City Hall. In addition, a petition has been posted to “Keep the Performing Arts in Richmond Public Schools”.

The School Board will be meeting tomorrow, Monday, June 15, at Huguenot High School at 6 PM. (agenda)

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