Roanoke leaders discuss improving education, declining real esta - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Roanoke leaders discuss improving education, declining real estate values and honors for Onzlee Ware

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On Monday, Roanoke City Council held their first meeting for 2014. The council discussed a number of different topics including an update on graduation rates for the city schools.

The busy day started with a meeting with the Roanoke City School Board. Educators reviewed the balanced scorecard which highlighted unique challenges for students. Educators said that on-time graduation rates are around 80% for city schools. Over the years, test scores and graduation rates have improved but students continue to face unique challenges.

"Students are not getting the reinforcement at home that they need" said Council member Ray Ferris. "Roanoke public schools are really making an effort to step forward and provide extra reinforcements."

Ferris said efforts include tutoring and programs like RCPS Plus, a summer course the school system started last year. City and school officials hope to keep interest and funding for the program going.

"What that program has done is try to fill the gap that unfortunately certain parents can't fill during the summer months" said Ferris. "RCPS Plus helps keep kids up and running so that when students return in the fall they are ready to go."

Later in the day, council members reconvened and honored Delegate Onzlee Ware for his commitment to public service. The longtime lawyer and retiring delegate was presented with a key to the city.

"This is special because it is among colleagues" said Delegate Ware. "Sometimes we agree and sometimes we didn't".

Also discussed were real estate assessments. Records show that the majority of residential assessed values declined. Council members said the lower values mean real estate tax rates will not increase.

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