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City Council Needs to Turn Down The Volume and Listen to Roanoke’s City Schools

The recent Roanoke City Council funding proposal for the City’s Schools raised a serious concern for the School board and the educators in Roanoke City. As with every matter in the City, Vice Mayor and member of the budget group Joe Cobb attempted to twist the facts about the proposal and its negative effect on the City’s schools.
“Our top priorities are based on our strategic vision for the city, which council determines every year, and we reaffirm that,” said Cobb. “And education and public safety are our top two priorities.
Roanoke City Council is debating to change the formula on how they would fund Roanoke Public Schools. Such a change would jeopardize the schools funding. As of now, Roanoke City Public Schools receive a 40% guaranteed fund from the City. But City Council wants to change the formula and have the City School Administration go through a process and apply for the funding like other City’s departments in order to be eligible for the percentage of the fund.
Seemingly, Roanoke City Council has become a powerful political organization. The one Party’s control over the City has unilaterally passed laws in the past without regarding people’s suggestions and concerns. Obviously, the Council members are carelessly operating in the City as they prioritize matters based on their views only.
It is insincere at best to put Roanoke City Schools in such a situation that affects their funding. The City Council members should realize that they are not in a position to decide for schools and determine any funding decreases. The School board and the City’s educators are the one’s who understand the importance of school funding and see the impact of any changes that are made.
Indeed, it would be in the best interest of the schools if the elected officials and the Council members listen the school administration, principals, and teachers regarding matters related to funding and spending. The schools staff are the ones in the environment and they can clearly predict the risks associated with changing the fund as opposed to members of City Council who are making decisions from inside the Municipal building.
Cobb said, “ We wanted more flexibility in looking at 100% of those your-end funds, and how those could be utilized.” He sees the budget proposal as a flexibility, but in fact, it undermines Roanoke Public Schools as its board would have to apply for the year-end fund and keep the finger crossed to be approved.
The importance of automatic funding for Roanoke City Schools should not be changed based on the deficiency of other City’s departments or their funding shortage. Complete support for the City’s Schools is support for the city’s children and youth. As a troubled city, people’s hope in Roanoke is in its schools and education system which will not be successful unless it is funded without being under the influence of politics.
However, it is the same old game by typical politicians. As they hold an increasingly firmer grip on power, they become more dangerous and intervene in every aspect of society. As usual, instead of fixing an issue, Roanoke City Council creates one. Instead of finding solutions for the City’s problems and high crime and using every effort to keep Roanoke’s children and youths safe, the Council causes even more concern and issues for the City.
Roanoke City council members should turn their volume down and listen to Roanoke City Public Schools and continue the automatic funding.
– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.

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