Thursday, March 29, 2012

Greater Richmond Chamber Supports Schools Review Task Force

Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today that the Mayor’s Schools Accountability and Efficiency Review Task Force will receive funding from the Greater Richmond Chamber Foundation in the amount of $35,000. The funds will be used to procure the services of the Robert Bobb Group and Alvarez and Marsal, two firms specializing in public sector turnarounds.

In thanking the Greater Richmond Chamber, the Mayor said, “The Greater Richmond Chamber has a long history of commitment to education in the City, including its focus on early childhood education. I appreciate the Chamber’s willingness to step forward to help us with this important effort, through both the short term and long term. This assistance will help the Task Force meet the quick deadline for addressing the short-term budget issue.”

Greater Richmond Chamber President & CEO Kim Scheeler said that the grant from the Foundation, “reflects the importance that business leaders place on education in the city of Richmond. The system of K-12 education is the best economic development driver we have, and the Chamber is very happy to help to improve the RPS system.”

The consultants will work with the Task Force on its short term work to focus on closing the $24 million budget gap. They will:

1. analyze cost savings proposals submitted by the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Superintendent to her Board,

2. review organizational and efficiency recommendations from previous internal and external studies of RPS,

3. identify and recommend strategies to redirect non-instructional savings to classrooms, including business operations, financial operations, asset management, human resources and benefits, and the use of grant funds,

4. conduct a benchmark analysis of statistical data comparing outcomes for Richmond with similar school divisions across the state, and

5. support the overarching objective of the Task Force to target and redirect resources to programs that improve student achievement.

The Mayor also stated his interest in broadening the membership of the Task Force for its longer term work. He announced the inclusion of Kim Scheeler, President & CEO of the Greater Richmond Chamber, starting immediately. The Mayor will have other appointments in the near future.