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Schools

Public hearing set on proposal to move George Mason, Franklin Military students

The School Board will hold a public hearing at George Mason Elementary School (813 North 28th Street) on Monday, July 31, 2017 at 6:00 PM to receive public comment on proposed options for pupil reassignment affecting George Mason Elementary School, Henderson Middle School, Richmond Community High School, and Franklin Military Academy.

Options up for discussion include:

  1. Keep the students where they are
  2. Move the students to the Clark Springs building over winter break 2017 until a permanent decision can be made
  3. Move Mason to the Franklin building, and the Franklin students into the Community building
  4. Rezone the students into other adjacent elementary schools
  5. Move Franklin and Community to Henderson, Henderson to Community, and Mason to Franklin
  6. Move Franklin to Norrell, move Mason to Franklin
  7. Move the students to the Clark Springs building over winter break 2017 and then build a new school
  8. Purchase trailers for Mason

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Options for discussion (via @RVAdirt) – click to view larger

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13 comments

Gretta 07/18/2017 at 11:23 PM

This is obvious or am I missing something? Option 4 (rezone)? Students in safe building day 1 that is fairly close by, lowest cost, doesn’t mess with franklin/community students? The principal moves to woodville which has a vacancy? Am I missing something (mean this seriously)?

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Rick Tatnall 07/19/2017 at 11:08 AM

I just sent the email below with the subject line: Please DO NOT DISRUPT Franklin Military or Richmond Community

Dear Ms. Page, Mr. Kranz and members of the Richmond School Board,

I attended Monday night’s School Board meeting and have been following very closely your discussions about George Mason Elementary School. I am as concerned as anyone about the problems at George Mason and am personally aware of the gravity of the situation as I have spent several years volunteering and working at the school. While I am glad that there is finally measurable concern about the conditions at George Mason, as Mr. Kranz stated on Monday RPS has several schools with similar serious issues.

I am writing because I am very concerned that a potential knee-jerk reaction to the problems at George Mason will lead to irreparable harm to other important specialty schools in the RPS system – specifically Franklin Military Academy and Richmond Community High School. Over the years both of these schools have been moved around but in the last several years each has finally landed in a building that is perfect for their academic mission, goals and objectives. I am particularly concerned of how quickly moving the GME students to the FMA building came up, as it is truly disrespectful to the positive pathway Franklin Military is on and shows a lack of understanding of how important Franklin Military Academy could be for the system if it was handled and programmed with a long term strategy.

I realize y’all are facing tough decisions, but these problems at GME, Elkhardt-Thompson, Wythe and other schools are not new and the solutions must be looked at within that context. As a citizen who is active in RPS schools, I am ready to help the Richmond School Board and RPS Administration deal with the facilities issues that y’all are facing, but I plead with you not to make short term decisions that create many more long term problems. In your considerations related to George Mason Elementary school, please do not disrupt Franklin Military Academy or Richmond Community High School.

Sincerely,

Rick Tatnall
Resident, 7th District

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Queen of Church Hill 07/19/2017 at 3:56 PM

I attended Community when it was at the Westhampton building. We had to share the building (which was falling apart) and buses with an elementary school for two years. It was a disservice to all the students. I agree with Mr. Tatnall and will also write against this. I hope that others will speak up too.

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Naomi Graves 07/20/2017 at 2:46 PM

My son is a 2016 graduate of Franklin Military Academy an I feel the need to leave those students in their present building. Franklin and Community High needs their own buildings and not have to share with another school . When this meeting comes about I will gather as many parents and students (former and present )to come out .

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Rhonda Russell-Tyler 07/20/2017 at 2:44 PM

They need to leave FMLA where it is! This is upsetting and I’ll definitely will be attending this meeting.

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Kenyetta Carter 07/20/2017 at 7:43 PM

Greetings, I am a very proud parent of a Franklin Military Academy student. I agree with MS. Graves. Leave Franklin where it is. My daughter has been there since she was in the 6th grade. She has been thriving and has become an amazing student thanks to the excellent, caring & motivated teachers and staff members. I will also be bring other parents and concerned citizens with me to the meeting.

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RPS Teacher 07/21/2017 at 12:57 PM

Greetings all, I am a proud teacher of RPS,George Mason Elementary School. I understand the disruption as we look at what is best for our GMES babies. However, if we want to see RPS grow as a district we must look at the waste in funds every year as well as the academics. Now, we all know that Franklin as well as Community are both great schools but are housed in facilities that are not being used to capacity. Both schools are not using half of what the schools were designed for. Fact, based on capacity both schools hold 750-850 students. Franklin has enrollment grades 6-12 total 450 (200 Middle and 250 HS), Community enrollment 230 students. Thinking about what is best for GMES is based on the HEALTH and well being of the kids and staff. I do hope that a resolution to this problem and the problems of all RPS schools could be easy but it won’t be. And no matter when we start everyone will experience some form of disruption. My thoughts are, we have to start somewhere and it just might have to start with George Mason Elementary School. Sorry.

Reply
Jerell 07/21/2017 at 8:20 PM

I attended Franklin when it was at Armstrong. Perhaps, Franklin should be housed in the Armstrong Building. It was like that for several years. It will save RPS a whole lot of planning and time. Instead of going all through the city.

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Ashley H. 07/21/2017 at 8:37 PM

I was thinking the same thing. Fraklin should be at Armstrong temporarily. George Mason will be moved to the Franklin Building. It will be easier for RPS to just stay within the East End schools.

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John M 07/23/2017 at 8:03 AM Reply
Jasmine Barber (George Mason Parent - 1st and 5th grader) 07/30/2017 at 9:14 AM

Pre-K through 5th grade students should not have to be exposed to mold, asbestos, infestation of cockroaches and rats/mice, as well as improper heating and cooling. Enduring these circumstances sets our youth at a severe academic disadvantage and negativily impairs their psyche and emotional development.

The school is not just the building, but the people. If the students of Franklin Military Academy and Community where enduring these horrendous circumstances, I am positive their parents would want them moved to a suitable building that is available so that their children would not have to spend one minute in a building with severe Code- and public health violations. To have a sentiment otherwise is grossly self-absorbed and extremely uncompassionate to the plight of our youth.

ALL of our youth matter and deserve a fair chance at education. If this involves moving George Mason to a suitable building so that the youngest of our students can have a fair start in their education (and the opportunity to attend Community and Franklin in the future), this should be the option chosen.

The school is not the building, it is the people. The teachers, children, dedicated staff, and parents. Community and Franklin students will thrive wherever they are because of the strong program that is currently in place. The East End community will be better if the school board has compassion and does what is BEST for George Mason Elementary students and practices fiscal responsibility via correcting resource under-utilization of our buildings.

Reply

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