Written by Brandon Jarvis
A House Subcommittee killed the Richmond schools facilities bill. The bill would’ve allowed the mayor to raise taxes to help fund RPS. It would have required Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to present a fully funded school facilities modernization plan to City Council by Jan. 1, 2019, or say it can’t be done.
The bill was killed by the House subcommiittee on Wednesday morning – the Senate version has previously passed committee for a full chamber vote. The difference in the Senate bill and the House bill is that Jeff Bourne’s House bill does not require Mayor Stoney to find a way to raise the money without raising taxes.
“In my good conscience, I couldn’t hamstring a local government with taking all those options off the table,” Bourne told the RTD. Richmond schools are facing mounting structural issues. This includes a school built in 2015, Huguenot High School needs a new gym floor due to moisture causing a lot of damage.
“For too long, the city has neglected maintenance of the school buildings,” Bourne said. “It’s unfortunate that as a city we’ve allowed it to get this far.” The Senate bill is still alive. Even if this bill passes, it would not go into effect until July 1st. So the Mayor’s meal tax, which is likely to be approved by City Council next week, would not be effected.