Richmond City Public Schools Learning Excellence by Aligning Public Schools Commission. (SB1370)

Introduced By

Sen. John Watkins (R-Midlothian)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Richmond City Public Schools Learning Excellence by Aligning Public Schools Commission. Establishes the Richmond City Public Schools Learning Excellence by Aligning Public Schools Commission for the purposes of evaluating Richmond City Public Schools facilities and making recommendations to the Richmond City School Board, Richmond City Council, and Mayor of Richmond. The bill also establishes a trust to fund the recommendations of the Commission. The provisions of the bill sunset on July 1, 2017. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/20/2015Presented and ordered printed 15103416D
01/20/2015Referred to Committee on Education and Health
01/30/2015Assigned Education sub: Public Education
02/05/2015Stricken at request of patron in Education and Health (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)


Garet Prior writes:

Please do not pass this bill. I am a volunteer member of the facilities task force and believe that good work is being done by the citizens of the city and school administration to address this problem. Additional layers of bureaucracy would slow down, and possibly stifle, this process. Please let us present our finding to the community and let local officials, who are accountable to local citizens, make decisions.

Thank you for your concern on this issue. It is of the utmost importance to be addressed.

Carol A.O. Wolf writes:

The members of the General Assembly's House and Senate Education Committees and the various subcommittees, would do themselves and the citizens of Richmond a huge favor if they were simply to ask Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring for an official opinion concerning the constitutionality of House Bill 2253 and Senate Bill 1370. [Click here HB2253 to read the House Bill and here SB1370 to read the Senate Bill and track the status of each.]

The ostensible purpose of these two bills, introduced last week by Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, Del. Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond and co-patroned by Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, I-74th, is to rescue the question of which City of Richmond Public School (RPS) buildings to close from the dreaded jaws of "politics."

Known by the awkward and laughably lofty nomenclature, "The Richmond City Public Schools Learning Excellence by Aligning Public Schools Commission," these bills propose to create a "Brac Commission" of a sort that would include two members each to be appointed by the Richmond School Board, Richmond City Council and Richmond Mayor, Dwight C. Jones. Those six people would then choose a seventh member who would serve as chairman.

In an Orwellian leap of logic and a display of “newspeak,” the patrons and supporters of these bills maintain that they only want “to help” the Richmond School Board members remove the taint of politics from their deliberations concerning school closures. Their solution? Yup, create another layer of bureaucracy and commission even more studies of the problem.

Seriously, do the math, folks. The Mayor chooses two. City Council picks two, and now that the Mayor Jones controls council, he winds up with four votes. The commission then elects the chairman, so the Mayor wins five to two, at least. As W.C. Fields famously remarked, "Easy as taking candy from a baby."

Not only did the news about the filing of these bills take several school board members by surprise, but it has angered parents across the city.