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Hashmi Pushes Back Against False Sturtevant Claim On School Rezoning Endorsement

Fox Elementary is just one of several schools Richmond Public Schools is considering pairing to help increase student diversity.
Fox Elementary is just one of several schools Richmond Public Schools is considering pairing to help increase student diversity. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

In a recent flier sent to Richmond parents, Republican State Senator Glen Sturtevant alleges that Democratic opponent Ghazala Hashmi supports the district’s rezoning proposals to pair Munford, Fox and Holton Elementary with other schools.

The flier states that Hashmi “opposes giving a voice to parents and members of the community” and that she “supports a rezoning plan written by out-of-state consultants who don’t understand our community.”

“This is a political stunt,” Hashmi said in an interview with VPM Tuesday. “Unfortunately, like our current president, my republican opponent seems to have an uneasy relationship with the truth.”

Hashmi said the implication that she’s publicly supported any Richmond rezoning proposals is false. Hashmi says she hasn’t taken a position on any rezoning proposals because she says it’s a matter for the school board to sort out, not the state.

“My personal stance on this particular issue is that rezoning decisions really are matters that are handled at the local and not at the state level,” Hashmi said. “I fully trust our elected members of the Richmond public school system, when they are working together with families and the parents and the community, that they will be able to make an informed and effective decision on this matter.”

Sturtevant’s campaign manager said in an email response to VPM that, “Hashmi’s refusal to act is implicit support of the school board’s proposals.”

Richmond school board members also recently blasted Sturtevant for his pitch to introduce legislation that he says would give community members a chance to vote on rezoning options before the school board. His campaign workers handed out petitions aimed at drumming up support for the plan on the first day of school outside Munford and Fox Elementary.

Richmond’s rezoning consultant Cropper just released new draft maps, which will be discussed during Thursday evening’s rezoning committee meeting. They’re set to present final recommendations to the school board in November. The school board still plans to sign off on new maps in December. It’ll be up to the school board to decide whether or not school pairing moves forward for the fall 2020 school year.