Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Roanoke City Public Schools has one priority for legislators

RCPS School Board, Council and Legislators

This year Roanoke City will have help lobbying for their top priorities. As a cost savings the city had eliminated a part-time Richmond lobbyist. This year the city will have consultants to beat on the door of legislators.

Arguing the case for RCPS and the city’s top five top priorities will be the firm of Alcalde & Fay. Robert Catron and Randy Cook from the Arlington firm attended Monday morning’s legislative program. Roanoke City’s delegate Onzlee Ware and delegate-elect Chris Head listened to the city’s wish list. Senator John Edwards was in Richmond but had his legislative aid Alison Baird represent him.

Councilman Sherman Lea

Roanoke City School Board member Annette Lewis and chairman David Carson made the case for their one priority – The classification given by the VHSL to high schools based solely on their size.

The Virginia High School League places Roanoke City’s high schools in the AAA classification creating a hardship on student athletes and a financial burden on the school system in travel cost.

RCPS has failed to convince VHSL to reclassify the schools to AA so they could compete locally.

The school board is asking for an oversight committee to resolve school division appeals. The other option would be to for the General Assembly to establish a study committee to review the effects of the VHSL on student athletes, programs and school budgets.

School Board Chairman David Carson

“Roanoke City transportation costs are in the $200,000 range in a time that budgets are tight,” said Carson. The lose of instructional time “is in the 7100 hour range.”

VHSL has taken the stance that lowering the classification would create an unequal playing field but they have been working with Roanoke lately said Carson. They created a combination district with Franklin County, Patrick Henry and William Fleming in the AAA classification.

Councilman Sherman Lea said, “it’s hard for me to understand how complex that it has become.”

Delegate Ware said he pre-filed a bill but then remarked that it has been questioned – “why shouldn’t homeschooled [students] be able to play varsity in the area in which they go to school … also Christian schools.” Ware said they had been able to “beat back that charge” so far though these parents pay taxes too he explained.

Ware said Roanoke City was the only school in the 2011 session to raise the issue of the cost of transporting athletes.

Continued ->

Roanoke’s city attorney presents his last legislative program

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, Politics, Roanoke City Politics, Roanoke City Public Schools, State Politics

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