Thursday, December 20, 2018

Mayor Stoney Presents Plan to Fully Fund Richmond Public School Facilities Plan

Mayor Levar M. Stoney announced today he will submit to city council a plan that fully funds the Richmond Public Schools $800 million capital plan over the next 20 years.

The mayor’s plan constitutes the city’s response to the requirements of a 2017 voter-approved charter change referendum passed by the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year, which set a December 31 deadline for the administration to either present a school facilities plan that does not raise taxes or declare that it was not achievable.

The mayor’s school funding plan:
  • Successfully provides $800 million of school capital investment over 20 years;
  • Does not rely on any real estate tax increase;
  • Includes $150 million of school capital investment funding based on the recently enacted 1.5% meals tax that is dedicated to Schools;
  • Allows for full compliance with all of the city’s existing Debt Policy Guidelines;
  • Provides significant capital funding for general non-school projects over the same 20-year time frame;
  • Relies on 2% growth in the city’s debt service budget commencing in FY 2024, a rate that is below that of historic inflation and is a fraction of the city’s recent growth in taxable real estate assessed valuation.

“Starting with our $150 million investment in school facilities earlier this year, I’m proud that we were able to identify a path to fund the remaining capital plan for RPS, so we can get as many kids as possible into 21st Century schools as soon as possible,” said Mayor Stoney.

The School Capital Funding Plan would provide $150 million in the first five years, $200 million in the following five years, $212.2 million in the next five years, and $237.8 million in the following five years after that, totaling $800 million for school capital investments over 20 years.

“While education is our number one priority, this plan does not abandon our neighborhoods and streets,” the mayor continued. “There remains sufficient debt capacity to tackle other infrastructure needs and other capital improvements over the next 20 years.”

“Make no mistake, this plan is a floor, not a ceiling for what we must do for our schools. “There is still much work to be done to change the outcomes for our kids inside the classroom,” Mayor Stoney continued. “On the state level, localities across the Commonwealth, like Richmond, need General Assembly lawmakers to step up and fund the true cost of public education. And locally we must continue to grow our economy and our revenues to accelerate and expand funding of our priorities.”

The Mayor’s plan does not rely on the proposed Navy Hill Development for any of its debt capacity or funding. But an analysis of the school funding plan by the city’s financial advisors, Davenport & Company, concludes that were the project to be undertaken, significant revenue producing growth downtown could accelerate the funding plan by as many as five years – resulting in savings in reduced debt service costs.

Details of Mayor Stoney’s school facilities funding plan are outlined in a memorandum by the Department of Planning and Budget and the Davenport analysis, which can be found below.

Davenport Analysis

A resolution was submitted to city council today for introduction on January 14th.