The Alternative is Trouble

We have seen that Richmond’s receptacle for disruptive students, Richmond Alternative, was doing a remarkable job with a tough crowd until RPS took it over from the contractor in order to save $2 million.  Pass rates then plummeted.  Richmond now has reconsidered and has handed the school over to another contractor.

The estimable Carol Wolf asked about offenses at Alternative.  The “Safe Schools Information Resource” on the VDOE Web site has a plethora of data on that subject.

Here are the 2015-16 data, expressed as percentages of the school population.


As I said, a tough crowd.

I think “ATOD” is “alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.”

The “Offenders” category lists the count of individual offenders.  The only way that can exceed 100% is for the population count to measure the population at one moment in time while the number of students moving through the school is large enough for the count of offenders to exceed that population count.

Looking over the list for second worst, I see that MLK (where the pass rates are similar to those at Alternative) comes closest to Alternative with a 58% rate of individual offenders.


So, by any measure, Alternative deals with a tough clientele.

The bottom line remains, however: RPS has demonstrated, convincingly, that it cannot manage Alternative nearly as well as the original contractor could.  And that $2 million “saving” came at the cost of large decreases in the pass rates of that tough clientele.

So RPS saves some money; the kids suffer for it.  Your tax dollars “at work.”