Task force tours problems at Richmond schools - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Task force tours problems at Richmond schools

Posted: Updated:
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Parents and teachers have complained about the state of many Richmond schools. Students have even walked out of class over the poor conditions.

Now, the Facilities Task Force is getting a firsthand look at the problems.  On Thursday, the group took a tour of several schools and got a glimpse of what types of maintenance issues Richmond schools are dealing with.  The hope is that by seeing these problems first hand, it will give the task force a better idea of the changes that are desperately needed.

At George Mason Elementary School, there are exposed lights in the bathroom, water leaks that could lead to mold and air conditioning units that don't work properly.

"We've spent a lot of money that we didn't need to, and those are dollars that could have gone somewhere else for maintenance or somewhere in the classroom," said Tommy Kranz, assistant superintendent for support services. He led the tour at several schools.

In the boiler room, it's an unsafe combination: standing water surrounds the mechanical equipment. It's just across the hall from an art classroom.  Kranz says fixing this problem is at the top of his list.

The Facilities Task Force is made up of volunteers, including architects, real estate experts and other teachers like Mary Horsley.  "It kind of makes you feel better about some of the conditions at your own school," she said.

The tour allowed committee members to see what maintenance crews deal with on a daily basis. Kranz, who has only been on the job a few weeks, says the maintenance budget is not ideal for a school district of this size.  "I think they've done a tremendous job doing the best they can with what they have," he said.

Not every school is in this condition.  Oak Grove is only a year and a half old and serves as an example of what can be accomplished.

For now, school leaders hope this committee will show the community steps are being taken to address the disrepair.  "We're doing everything possible, being as prudent with every dollar that we spend, and we're going to give them a great educational facility," Kranz said.

The task force is scheduled to present their recommendations in September.  The task force is co-chaired by Richmond City School Board members, Kristen Larson and Kimberly Gray, 

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved

Powered by WorldNow