Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, School Board at odds over financing for CTE Center

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 8:09 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ) - The Roanoke County School Board and the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors are at odds over funding for capital improvement projects. And it now appears plans for a new career and technical education center are hanging in the balance.

Thursday night, members of the Roanoke County School Board directed the school division staff to remove the new Burton Center for Arts and Technology from the Capital Improvement Project List.

Board members said it would be irresponsible to move forward with the project without additional funding from the supervisors.

The school system has purchased the land for the new career and technical education center, and the project has been a priority for members of the School Board and the Board of Supervisors.

But the two boards have been unable to come to terms on a request for an additional $21 million.

The supervisors have agreed to authorize the additional debt, but would require the school system to repay the interest and principal from the school budget. And that, says school board members, is a non-starter.

“I’m a huge BCAT fan,” said Windsor Hills district school board member Cheryl Facciani. “And the folks that can help us get there and hold the purse strings are the board of supervisors.”

“We need these schools,” said Catawba district school board member and Board Chair Brent Hudson. “We don’t have the ability to fund it ourselves. It’s up to them to act.”

WDBJ7 spoke with Board of Supervisors Chair Martha Hooker Friday afternoon. She said the supervisors have given the school board a path forward on its priorities, but remain concerned about the county’s debt load at a time of economic uncertainty.

She said the supervisors care deeply about the schools and want the teachers and students to have the facilities they need. But Hooker said “we also need to be able to pay for it.”