Preparing for the George Mason Elementary public hearing

What the issue?

At the Monday July 17th RPS Board meeting, representatives Cindy Menz-Erb and Liz Doerr presented findings from their informal facilities task force and called for immediate action to be taken about the deplorable conditions at George Mason Elementary. Menz-Erb and Doerr assembled eight options for how they could address the situation. The board voted for Interim Superintendent Tommy Kranz to work with his team and present three options at a public hearing on July 31st. At this meeting, the community will have an opportunity to hear the plans and voice their opinions before the board votes. 

Relevant documents

Facilities task force report

Facilities task force options for George Mason

Relevant news stories (order of date published)

'I'll help carry boxes': Richmond School Board members debate closing 'deplorable' elementary school

Community meeting to be held about conditions at George Mason Elementary

Special meeting called over future of 'bug infested' Richmond school

Editorial: Richmond must find the money to fix its schools 

Poor conditions at George Mason Elementary fire up School Board

With only $14 million in hand, Richmond school leaders aren't sure how to start building a better district

Williams: We remain two Richmonds- RVA blossomed while Richmond is being left further and further behind 

Meeting Information

Date: July 31st

Time: 6PM

Location: George Mason Elementary 813 North 28th Street

There is FREE food from 5-6PM and FREE transportation starting at 4:30PM. Contact Adrienne Johnson at Peter Paul (804-780-1195) to arrange transportation or meet at Mosby Court Management Office at 5:30PM. 

Facebook Event

What should I expect? 

The public will be seated as an audience while the board and administration will be up front. The purpose of the meeting is for Interim Superintendent Tommy Kranz and his team to present three options to the school board of what can be done at George Mason Elementary. During this time, school board members may ask questions or for clarifications. Generally the public does not ask questions during this time. So unless they open the floor for the audience to ask questions during the presentation, you can assume your chance will come at public comment. 

Once the presentation is finished, the chair will open the floor for public comment. Anyone who wants to speak will be asked to line up. Normally, citizen speakers have 3 minutes and people representing organizations have 5 minutes to speak. However, the chair can abbreviate the time allotted if necessary so you may want to prepare for 2 minute speaking time just inc case. 

    After public comment has been received, the board will deliberate and add their opinions. To take action, one board member will have to make a motion. The motion could be to vote, continue, or amend. Another board member will have to second the motion. If it is not seconded, then the motion fails. If it is seconded, then they will vote yes or no. If the vote passes, then no more action is to be taken. If the vote does not pass, you may see a board member try to make another motion to amend the item. 

    Public Comment Rules

    • Speakers should state their full legal name prior to addressing the board
    • Speakers will not be permitted to address or question the Superintendent, Board Attorney, Board Clerk, or any other staff member directly. Questions should be directed to the char, who may, at their discretion, solicit a response.
    • Applause is permitted during the awards and presentations period only.

    How should I prepare? 

    • Show your support and wear blue or white (GME colors!) 
    • Wear comfortable shoes (you could be standing in line for a little bit)
    • Wear temperature appropriate clothes (as of Monday the administration put window units in the auditorium but with a crowd it could get toasty) 
    • Make sure your phone is charged 
    • Take photos! Tweet statuses! Post on Facebook! Post on Instagram! 
      • The hashtag for school board is #RPSBoard
      • If you tag us @RVADirt, we will RT you
    • What should I say? 
      • Most people come with something pre-written to read
      • Tell a personal experience or story about the conditions at GME
      • Tell the board which option you are in support of and why 
      • Tell the board your concerns about an option
      • Ask questions about options 

    What if I can't attend? 

    No problem! Activism takes many forms. 

    • Spread the word and invite as many people as you can
    • Email the board
      • Click the picture of the school board on Richmond Forward and email all 9 board members at once
        • Get active on social media
      • Join Support Our Schools on Facebook
      • Hashtag everything about school board with #RPSBoard
      • Tag your representatives in your Facebook posts or Tweets