Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Richmond’s FY2025 budget amendments include $17M boost for city schools

Mayor Stoney embraces Saunders
Shaban Athuman
VPM News File
Mayor Levar Stoney embraces Lincoln Saunders, Richmond Chief Administrative Officer, before presenting his proposed budget to the City Council on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at City Hall in Richmond, Virginia.

Mayor Levar Stoney’s final budget is taking shape ahead of next week’s City Council vote.

Mayor Levar Stoney’s final budget for the city of Richmond is taking shape ahead of next week’s City Council vote.

Councilors proposed 25 funding changes — plus a handful of amendments that would allow flexibility in how money’s spent — on Monday.

City officials identified additional funding sources throughout the budget-making process: $9 million in estimated interest income, along with nearly $24 million through the restructuring of the Diamond District deal that puts more financial risk on city tax payers.

Most of the amendments detail how that $9 million will be allocated. A March proposal included two Department of Public Works initiatives: $3 million to demolish the Richmond Coliseum and $1 million for security costs at the shuttered building and at the city’s year-round shelter.

City Council sought to claw back $2.5 million, punting on the coliseum’s demolition — but allotting an additional $500,000 for DPW’s $1.5 million security needs. Council also shifted nearly $1 million in park and playground improvement spending to the long-term Capital Improvement Plan, freeing up that cash in the short-term general fund.

Those general fund dollars will mostly go to out-of-school programming intended to reduce gun violence in Richmond. Organizations like Challenge Discovery, ChildSavers, Communities in Schools and the VA League for Safer Streets will receive city dollars to support their programming.

At an April meeting, City Council heard criticism from Richmond Public Schools employees about long-standing maintenance needs at schools. This week, councilors proposed an additional $2 million for the RPS operating budget. That brings the city’s total contribution to the operating budget to $239 million — less than the $246.5 million budgeted by RPS.

Through a text amendment, council sought to give the school system permission to use up to $10 million of its new school construction budget for maintenance.

City Council President Kristen Nye said the mayor’s office also identified about $5 million in unspent funds from completed city projects that will go toward school maintenance. In total, that’s a $17 million boost for various RPS funds.

The city’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget — which goes into effect July 1 and runs through June 30, 2025 — hasn't yet been finalized, but Stoney filed a document incorporating most of council’s changes this week.

Council’s scheduled to vote on the nearly $3 billion budget May 13.

Patrick Larsen is VPM News' environment and energy reporter, and fill-in host.
Related Stories