New $720,000 policy gives RPS employees a week off for spring break
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 3/22/2019, 6 a.m.
For the first time, principals, maintenance workers and other 12-month public schools employees in Richmond will receive a week of paid leave during the upcoming spring break, even though it will cost more than $720,000.
Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras noted the new policy without mentioning the cost in his March 10 RPS Direct email to students, staff and the community.
The paid leave comes as city and schools officials are grappling with budget requests for a public school system that officials routinely say is underfunded.
City Council member Kim B. Gray, 2nd District, who previously served on the School Board, called the new policy “a giveaway.” She said the action undermines the argument that the school system fails to receive sufficient financial support.
Mr. Kamras stated that all employees, including the estimated 400 12-month employees, would be able to join students in taking a week off during spring break beginning Monday, April 1.
In the past, 12-month employees were required to work during spring break. In any year when Easter coincides with the break, 12-month employees received paid leave only on the Friday before the holiday.
Mr. Kamras also used his message to notify employees who used personal leave to take off Thursday, Dec. 20, and Friday, Dec. 21, and Wednesday, Jan. 2, would have the leave restored, meaning the school system would pick up the cost of those days off. That cost to RPS also was not specified.
Mr. Kamras did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
School Board member Jonathan Young, 4th District, said Wednesday the new vacation days policy for 12-month employees was brought up at Monday’s School Board meeting, but he said the administration did not mention the cost or seek approval from the board. The board approved the current RPS calendar last year.