Roanoke Co. School Board puts CTE Center back on Capital Improvement Project list, hopes supervisors meet halfway

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 10:31 PM EDT
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - “Things do get heated and comments are made in the heat of the moment and my hope is that we can bridge the gap and they are willing to meet us in the middle and get this done for our children,” said Brent Hudson, chairman of the Roanoke County School Board.

How to cover costs for the future new Burton Center for Arts and Technology has been a continued discussion between the Roanoke County School Board and Board of Supervisors. The School Board’s ask of an additional $21 million for it brought the two to a stand-still over the last week, including the School Board taking it off the 2024-2033 Capital Improvement Project list a week ago.

The Supervisors are okay with authorizing the money but want the school system to repay the principal and interest from the RCPS budget. One board member voiced his frustration with how the recent process has gone.

“Changing these things and them trying to force us to put Burton on here is not the right way to do this. So the only way you effect change is to be a part of that change. We have to effect that change so that no other board tells a school board how they are going to do things at the schools,” said Tim Greenway, vice-chairman of the School Board.

But another board member said the board of supervisors has always been supportive of RCPS.

“To insinuate that the board of supervisors have not been supportive of RCPS is just wrong. I think all five of those members on the board are in favor of getting this done, I think they are just wanting to make sure that we do it properly, in my opinion,” said David Linden, who represents the Hollins District.

The School Board unanimously reversed its decision Thursday and put Burton back on the Capital Improvement Project list. The School Board agreed to include repayments in its budget, but the hope now is that the Board of Supervisors will cover $10.5 million of the $21 million additional funding needed for the Burton Center for Arts and Technology.

“I propose that we each take half of that $21 million and service that debt and I think we found a way to do that in our budget. And I hope that they understand that we’re doing the best that we can to put money aside in good faith, in hopes that they’re gonna meet us there and make us whole,” said Cheryl Facciani, who represents the Windsor Hills District.

The Board of Supervisors will have to approve the plan, as well, at its meeting in April before funding is finalized, and they will also vote to approve the RCPS 2023-2024 budget that was unanimously approved by the School Board Thursday night.