Questions about Superintendent Search- by Jessee Perry
Press release- formerly incarcerated call for quality jobs
Link to video of 2.13.17 Work Session (Most of the conversation starts at 1HR and 20MIN)
We are one week away from the School Board finalizing their budget to be submitted to Mayor Stoney and after several work sessions, they are discussing changing their approach. Historically, the Superintendent has presented his estimate of needs, the School Board refines the budget and submits it with what they want to the Mayor, then the Mayor’s Office puts together his budget and submits it to City Council. This is the point when the public gets outraged and gets involved when school funding gets cut. However, this year, the new School Board is contemplating a change in direction. In the recent School Board Budget Work Session, council discussed that they planned to submit a budget of what they think Mayor Stoney would approve. So instead of asking for everything the school district needs, even if it is significantly over budget, the School Board will try to trim down the budget to a level they think the mayor will approve.
This change in direction seems to have come from the Education compact put in place to formalize the co-operation among the Mayor’s administration, city council, and school board to work on improving RPS. The expanded cooperation means there have been more collaborative discussions than previous years to make the process efficient and to ensure all stakeholders are looped in on the same page. Based on the discussion in the work session, Mayor Stoney and his administration have already told the school board how much additional funding above last year’s funding will be approved. So instead of working to submit the ideal budget for the district, they are working to trim the budget down to the number close to what the Mayor has already communicated.
With the budget session happening next week, this does not leave a lot of time for the public to find out about the change of direction in budget discussions when the bulk of the cuts will happen over the next week prior to the administration receiving the budget. If you are someone who has a vested interest in the budget or budget process but were waiting for the budget to go to the city administration, now is the time to jump in the mix.
Personally, I have concerns about how this will play out especially without proper communication to the public about the change of direction on such short notice. If you weren’t at council for the December 2016 meeting, you may want to check out Council’s comments responding to the Police Department requesting additional funding outside of budget season. It starts in this video around 1 hour and 50 minutes. If you were at the work session, would love to hear your opinion in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Levar Stoney has said over and over that he views the role of Mayor as "Grand Convener" so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he had a role in getting the stakeholders together to talk. But I was surprised at at the Mayoral Debate that night, he did not mention his role in the conversation.
To me, the whole set up is unsettling and/or anxiety inducing. We have been talking about the need for focusing on funding RPS for how long? And how many years have we gone back and forth on the stadium issue? Don't get me wrong, I am glad that if a conversation is going to happen, it is about the Boulevard; however, I feel like residents and mayoral candidates alike who have been crying out to focus on the basics. I feel like Stoney's role in facilitating the conversation is picking at an unhealed wound and is not listening to the people crying out for elected officials to fund our schools. Even in the early stages, the conversation does not feel transparent.
Maybe my gut instinct to be distrustful is wrong but it brings a healthy dose of scrutiny to the table. This is either a really bad Inception-style dream or we are living out Groundhod Day.
Several weeks ago, we at RVA Dirt published an endorsement for RVA Coffee Stain to be our next Mayor of Richmond. Now, we want to let all of our readers know who we will not be endorsing--- Jon Baliles. I know Jon basically saved us from Shockoe Stadium... I know he is the only candidate with a clear funding plan for RPS... I know he loves Richmond... but RVA Dirt will not endorse him. Before you throw your computer out of a window and hunt me down to tell me I am wrong; hear me out. If Jon Baliles is our next mayor, RVA Dirt will cease to exist because there will be no drama to talk about! How do you live tweet a mayor who listens to Richmond residents? Jon is so Richmond his last name is basically Belle Isle. I dug deep in the deep recesses of google to find the worst of the worst dirt on Jon to show exactly what a Mayor Baliles administration could look like. Read through the damning evidence and decide for yourself.
For those of you who did not know, somewhere between his time as Governor's son and working in City Hall, Jon was a local blogger who went by the nickname "Snoopy." Now, I can't hate on someone doing what I do now... but seriously, Snoopy? Woodstock was far better of a Peanuts character. I get it, he "snooped." I am willing to retract this criticism if he tells me that he picked Snoopy because in this metaphor Richmond is Charlie Brown, private developers are Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute, and Jon/Snoopy is Richmond's stable friend who daydreams a lot.
Speaking of blogs... JON BALILES WROTE HIS BLOG IN A CENTRIST VOICE? For shame sir. For shame. You are a terrible rightie. Maybe that is because you identify as Democrat.... but anywho.
In 2012, Baliles beat Bruce Tyler by 20 votes when he went on a full blown attack over an expensive alley. Doesn't he know Bruce Tyler's alley has needs? Maybe my Northside alley doesn't have the same drainage problems and doesn't need an expensive alley. Not everyone needs the Taj Mahal of alleys! Only Bruce and his neighbors needed one!
Bruce Tyler got rude with Jon's mom at Council and he didn't go full blown Fighter-for-the-People on him? He kept his cool??? Well, now Richmond knows who to practice their best yo mamma jokes on.
Jon Baliles felt safe in City Hall. There were 130 calls for disorderly conduct over the period of one year over all 19 floors and Baliles didn't notice? Where was he during all of these calls? Was he hiding out in his office doing work? Didn't even stick his head out to see what the commotion was about?
Ugggghhh I know Jon took the bus to City Hall a lot but does he not know how much time these traffic circles waste when I am cruising the city in my car? Well, at least he answers constituent emails (here's looking at you, Ellen).
Baliles, why you got to point out facts about Richmond being different today? Over there respecting rights while speaking out about Richmond moving forward beyond being the capital of the Confederacy. SMH.
This one speaks for itself. Baliles wasted so much time fighting to block Mayor Jones's Shockoe Stadium proposal. Why wouldn't he just let it go. Sixth Street Marketplace wasn't that bad... it was just ahead of it's time. It totally would have worked out if he let it play out. GOSH. Why would he spend time fighting to save Richmond from financial ruin???
Apparently Jon received a request to erect a memorial sign so he talked to the neighbors and civic association. He made a tough decision that favored the opinions of residents in the area. The easy answer would have been approving the sign but there Jon went... asking residents their opinions and listening to them instead of folding like a cheap suit. If he stopped listening and took the easy way out, he could spend more time catering to private developers!
See what I mean? RVA Dirt would be ruined if we elected a mayor who spent his time working, listening to residents, advocating for Richmond, and fighting against cronyism. It would be four years of us tweeting photos of the blind dog Jon adopted being BFFs with their deaf cat. While I am an extraordinary freelance pet photographer, there are only so many photos you can take before you wander into the abyss of pet costumes. No one wants to see me dress up the Duchess of Windsor Farms like Marty Jewell. Before you vote on November 8th, please spend some serious time imagining a world where RVA Dirt didn't exist and City Hall ran smoothly and addressed the city's needs. Is that the kind of world you want to live in? Vote your conscious.
A spooky tale of Jack Berry and the O.G. Boondoggle (warning: scary content. reader discretion advised). - written by Jessee Perry, edited by Melissa Vaughn
Connecting the dots on Jack Berry's opinion of the Redskins training camp. Written by Jessee Perry and edited by Melissa Vaughn.
And then I asked... how can Bruce Tyler, Lawrence Williams or Bobby Junes win?