RICHMOND, Va. — In an effort to offset rising school operation costs, Richmond Public Schools and Dominion Energy announced on Thursday a partnership enabling the billion dollar power company to operate coal mines out of several Richmond schools.
The bold move is anticipated to bring millions of dollars in revenue to the fledgeling school system while providing a new source of power generation for many homes and businesses in the Richmond area.
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Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras explained Dominion Energy would begin construction of the mines immediately, though with some help. The agreement calls for each of the four chosen schools to award 20 to 30 low-achieving students with the opportunity to work in the coal mines for up to four hours a day, though they will need a parent’s approval.
An additional clause of the partnership allows each school to exercise disciplinary measures through the mines. For example, in place of detention, students in violation of the school’s code of conduct may be forced to work in the mines after regular school hours.
While the school system and the energy corporation touted the mutual benefits, some parents of children attending the schools have expressed concerns.
“My daughter has asthma,” Ronnie Lee, whose daughter is a kindergartener at Linwood Holton Elementary, said, “and though I like the added revenue, I’m worried that the thick, black dust that will undoubtedly encapsulate the entire school will negatively affect her. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Can’t wait to run my AC all year though.”
Dominion Energy has also stated how they plan on utilizing the new found coal, claiming they are in the process of purchasing the eastern half of Carytown, with the hopes of building a new coal plant there, creating a small operating base at the Byrd Theater.
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