“This is legacy work.” Roanoke City Public Schools officials provide updates on projects

Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 5:14 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City officials are preparing for the start of the new school year. During a joint meeting between Roanoke City Public Schools and the city council - a new budget work group was created, updates were given on new construction projects, and the superintendent was recognized.

Despite delaying the opening of the new technical education center – Roanoke City Public Schools officials found a solution. Students will be able to start their programs at the start of the new school year.

“This is legacy work,” said Superintendent Verletta White.

White is following through on her promises made under the Equity in Action Project.

“We believe that this is really important to build trust in our community,” explained White.

One of those promises is the new technical education center. The building will accommodate all existing programs and add 4 new ones, including criminal justice, landscaping, barber classes, and an HVAC program.

“Our community has asked for these programs since my first day on the job,” added White.

The new center gives students more options to pursue other avenues after graduating.

“They may enter the workforce with certifications and a resume ready for them to be a viable productive contributing member of our society,” explained Chief Operating Officer Chris Perkins.

The new center is named Charles W. Day Technical Education Center (DAYTEC). Due to supply chain issues, the center is delayed until January 2024. In the meantime, students will attend Lucy Addison Middle School to start learning.

“We renovated an entire section of Lucy Addison Middle School to where we can have a clear separation between middle school students and the high school students that are in the program,” explained Perkins. “Their own entrances, their own bus loop, parking area.”

Two new music education rooms have been completed in Breckenridge Middle School.

“The arts are just as important as our athletics to go along with our education. So, we give those opportunities to our students,” added Perkins.

As attendance has increased in the school – so has the need for more space. Seven new classrooms are also being built. White says the new projects help them better prepare students as they take the next step.

“These facilities is just one piece of the overall puzzle but we’re so incredibly proud of this piece,” said White.

Also Monday’s joint meeting - a new budget work group was approved. The creation of a new group is set to enhance the understanding of budget systems between the two. One of their main duties is to propose recommendations on how to improve the relationship regarding budgeting practices.

The members are:

Joe Cobb, Vice Mayor, Roanoke City Council

Trish White-Boyd, Roanoke City Council Member

Joyce Watkins, Vice Chair, Roanoke City School Board

Franny Apel, Roanoke City School Board Member

The group will meet monthly and provide summary reports.

Before the hard hat tour - the City council surprised Superintendent Verletta White during the meeting. A proclamation was issued recognizing White’s accomplishments. This includes being named the state’s superintendent of the year by Virginia’s Association of School Superintendents. White said she was very grateful for the opportunity to serve the community.