Archive for March 2nd, 2010
Governor Bob McDonnell is working overtime to get a fledgling Richmond charter school off the ground. City leaders and School Board members have been battling community members over the opening of Patrick Henry Charter School on Richmond’s Southside.
The school is set to open for classes in July, but is falling short in support from the school district, which has been lukewarm in some cases or downright combative in others. Traditionally public school supporters have been resistant to the introduction of charter schools because they believe they bleed resources from other parts of the district that have desperate needs of their own.
Enter the state’s new Governor. Bob McDonnell has never shied away from his support for the development of charter schools and has found numerous opportunities to tout his support of President Barack Obama‘s “race to the top” program, which calls for the creation of a version of charter schools across the country. McDonnell is having a hard time pushing charter school funding through at the State Capitol, in part because his is being forced to subtract, not add to public school budgets.
However, one of the unique aspects of the charter school model is its aggressive approach to raising private donations to sustain its operation. Patrick Henry is no different. Supporters of the new school have solicited private donations to get the new operation off the ground and now McDonnell himself will become front and center in that effort.
As first reported by Chris Dovi and our friends at RVANews, McDonnell will headline a private, invite-only fundraiser in support of the Patrick Henry Charter School. NBC12 independently confirmed with the Governor’s office that McDonnell has agreed to take part. The goal would be to help Patrick Henry raise the necessary funds to get the building open and secure a lease.
In addition to the very public support by the Governor, City Councilman Marty Jewell is working behind the scenes in an attempt to convince city school leaders that opening Patrick Henry is in everyone’s best interest. Jewell sent a letter to Kim Bridges, one of the school board members who has expressed concerns about the development of charter schools. In the letter Jewell pleads with Bridges “to urgently embrace fundamental change in educational delivery.” Jewell asks Bridges and the board to consider a financial committment to get Patrick Henry’s doors open.
A transcript of Jewell’s letter to Bridges can be found after the jump..