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City Council and the Roanoke School Board disagree on the funding formula



Roanoke, Virginia – In the city of Roanoke, there may be an impending conflict about financing for education.

Members of the school board have learned that their city council counterparts are thinking about altering the funding formula they have been using for more than ten years.

Although the matter has been discussed for over a year, school board members expressed their worries in public on Tuesday night during a board meeting.

A 2012 policy mandates that the city fund public education with forty percent of its earnings.
The current proposal would apply to the city’s year-end surplus and mandate that the school system ask for more financing, with no assurance that it will be granted.
The chair of the Roanoke City School Board is Eli Jamison.

“Big picture, that means going forward we’re not going to have anywhere close to the percent we have consistently,” she said. “Some years it may be closer to the full amount, some years it won’t. So that’s my biggest fear.”

Roanoke City Public Schools’ Chief Financial Officer is Kathleen Jackson.

According to her, the education system has received millions of dollars in its part of the excess in recent years.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of projects that we wouldn’t have been able to do, and certainly not as soon as we were able to do them, thanks to truly receiving a full 40% of actual revenue,” Jackson said.

The school board claims that the term “actual revenue” indicates that the 40% policy applies to the surplus, which makes it significant.
However, Mayor Sherman Lea disputes this.

Lea and I had a late afternoon chat on Thursday. He claimed that the new budget, which includes more than $100 million for public education, shows how kind the city council has been to the city schools.

Lea informed us that while the council members aren’t saying they won’t give the school board a portion of the surplus, they are curious about how the schools plan to use it.

Lea stated that he thinks the council members are on the same page and will vote on a resolution shortly.



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