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Agreement on Leaky School Roofs All Wet?


A partial settlement agreement reached between the Richmond School Board and the builders of three city schools will result in long-delayed repairs to the roof of Blackwell Elementary School - but not to two other leaky schools.

But the beginning of the end of this nearly decade long dispute is ruffling some familiar feathers. Board member Carol A.O. Wolf says the cost to the city for outside lawyers, expert witnesses and other court costs have flowed as freely as water through the leaky roofs at Blackwell, Linwood Holton and Miles Jones elementary schools.

Reacting to last week's announcement of the partial settlement, Wolf fired off an angry letter to her fellow board members on Thursday.

"I have repeatedly asked why -- prior to my arrival on this board - no one in administration, no one on this board and no attorney representing this board made any effort to enforce the warranties on what were brand-new schools, schools that were supposed to have water-tight roofs," Wolf writes. "The costs of this litigation will easily [reach] the $500,000 mark…"

In the letter obtained by Style, Wolf lambastes the inert approach schools lawyers and School Board Chairman George Braxton have taken in reaching a settlement in the case, saying "I am further shocked and angry that there is no resolution as pertains to Holton and Miles Jones."

Schools spokeswoman Felicia Cosby says she is unaware of the terms of the Blackwell agreement and referred questions to Braxton. Calls to Braxton were not immediately returned.

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