‘This is bullying’: Richmond City School Board members speak out against City Council slowing progress on George Wythe reconstruction

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There were some strong words made by some members of the Richmond City School Board on Monday night in response to the City Council’s handling of the reconstruction contract for George Wythe High School.

Dr. Shonda Harris-Muhammed, board chair of the 6th district, said she met with City Council President, Cynthia I. Newbille, to discuss contractual services for George Wythe High School.

The meeting ended with Newbille requesting a third round of questioning from the school board.

The board expressed frustrations towards the City Council for slowing progress on the rebuilding of George Wythe and withholding the necessary funds to begin work.

“I’m not going to say what I would prefer to say, because what I’d prefer to say is not very polite,” said Jonathan Young, board member of the 4th district.

“The only reason that we have not awarded a contract for design services of a new George Wythe is that there are a few members of City Council that, like Lucy with a football, keeps pulling it out from Charlie Bown.”

Some members of the board were confused by the continuous questioning from City Council, while others believed it was an intentional powerplay to subjugate the council.

“What we’re witnessing is a destruction of democracy,” said Kenya Gibson of the 3rd district.

“We should all be concerned as a city that both the Mayor and the City Council are really adamant about ensuring that they are the ones that can issue this contract,” said Gibson. “I think at this point we should pursue legal action. I question the legality of City Council withholding funds that have already been allocated to school construction.”

The board itself is conflicted on the involvement of City Council in the project. Of the nine members, five seem to be adamantly against it.

“This is bullying,” said Gibson. “I think it’s very sad that we are in this place, but I am incredibly proud of the four colleagues that I sit with who are not accepting the status quo.”

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