This comment on an article about congestion pricing in NYC exactly mirrors the conversations we’re having in Richmond about schools funding. I’ve gone ahead and replaced “subway” with “schools” and “The MTA” with “RPS”:
Yes we need money to fix the schools. But there is no mention of accountability. How will we know that this money won’t be siphoned off to other projects the way it has been in the past? Who will be the trustworthy monitor of this money? RPS cannot be trusted. Talk about it all you want but they must somehow demonstrate trustworthiness and accountability before they get any more money.
“I support RPS. I just don’t trust that the money will go where you say it’s going, or that you’ll use it effectively.” That’s the number one critique I’ve heard over the last several weeks about the Mayor’s FY20 budget proposal. Some of that distrust has its roots in biases about race and class – conscious or otherwise – that still grip Richmond. But some is grounded in our own missteps. For example, we haven’t always used our money well, and when investments havebeen made – whether public or philanthropic – it hasn’t always been clear what difference they’ve made. To those of you who distrust RPS for these reasons, I want to say as clearly as I can: I hear your frustration. We must do better and we will.