Clean Bathrooms in Richmond Schools, Hurrah!

School Superintendent Jason Kamras at Boushall Middle School. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

I don’t normally have much good to say about Richmond Public Schools, but the system deserves credit for this: The school board found $350,000 this year to finance a “bathroom blitz.” With significant assistance from community volunteers, the school system made tremendous progress this summer bringing school bathrooms into a state of cleanliness and good repair.

The school system was able to improve about two-thirds of the 44 schools’ bathrooms by the beginning of the school year, and will continue work on the others this fall, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch

“We still have a lot more to do, but we made a lot of headway,” said Superintendent Jason Kamras.

So far the division has replaced:

  • 200 paper towel dispensers
  • 150 toilet paper dispensers
  • 150 soap dispensers
  • 260 faucets
  • 170 sinks
  • 20 stall doors
  • 200 stall locks
  • Three toilets
  • 100 ceiling tiles

More than 50 bathrooms were freshly painted.

Clean, functional bathrooms are a bare minimum standard. The willingness of the school system to allow the bathrooms to deteriorate before now was disgraceful. Kudos to Kamras, who is new to the job, and to the school board for finding the money and mobilizing the volunteers to get the job done. The next step is to permanently reallocate funds to the maintenance budget to ensure that bathrooms continue to meet basic standards on an ongoing basis.

The City of Richmond doesn’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars building and renovating new schools. The Commonwealth of Virginia doesn’t need to issue $3-$4 billion in bonds for the same purpose. Instead, school systems need to stop deficit spending. And let’s be clear: Deferring basic maintenance is a form of deficit spending.

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One response to “Clean Bathrooms in Richmond Schools, Hurrah!

  1. Jim says “the school board found $350,000 this year to finance a “bathroom blitz.” And that the work was done by volunteers?

    How in the world could it cost $350,000 for volunteers to paint 50 bathrooms and replace:

    200 paper towel dispensers
    150 toilet paper dispensers
    150 soap dispensers
    260 faucets
    170 sinks
    20 stall doors
    200 stall locks
    Three toilets
    100 ceiling tiles

    And why did this require a special mission outside the normal job of school maintenance staff?

    If the school administrations have not the will and competence to keep the student bathrooms clean and stocked, why in the world should we assume that they have the will and competence to educate our kids.

    This is yet another example of the collapse our culture. It is going on now around us, everywhere we look. And most refuse to see it, much less do anything about it. Three cheers for the volunteers!

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