Op-Ed: Approved Bond Millage Renewal by the RCS Board

Op-Ed submitted by Ravi Yalamanchi, Candidate for Mayor, Rochester Hills

Ravi Yalamanchi

Ravi Yalamanchi

Strong and successful education is vital for economic self-sufficiency of the individual and economic growth of the community and nation. In greater Rochester area we have Rochester Community Schools. Strong schools are reflective of a strong housing market and vibrant neighborhoods. The City of Rochester Hills and City of Rochester have been recognized in the top best cities within their population range. One of the key reasons that contributed to the recognition is good school system, which attracts families to move into the community.

Recently the School Board approved to request voters, on November 03, 2015, for approval of $185 million bond renewal to fund updates (per RCS website):

  1. Improving student safety and schools security
  2. Establishing permanent spaces for pre-kindergarten, adult and special education
  3. Upgrading technology and technology infrastructure
  4. Improving classroom and school interiors and refreshing classroom furniture
  5. Improving playgrounds, school sites, and athletic facilities
  6. Addressing critical needs in roofs and in electrical and mechanical areas, and
  7. Replacing school buses as they age

This request for bond renewal will not increase taxes and gives the opportunity for RCS to invest in critical needs. I am very supportive of this approach. While I was on City Council I advocated for and supported the capturing of expiring millages for creating a millage for local road improvement and reconstruction. With the approval from residents it gave us the opportunity to create a 1.2 mill which generates approximately $3.8 million a year in revenue; with additional funds from state the city now has the capacity to allocate $5 million annually for local road repairs, maintenance and replacement. In my final year on Council, this opportunity was used to plan for 2014, 2015 and 2016, to invest in our roads, which is critical for retaining higher housing values.

Rochester Community Schools have been successful, overall, in maintaining a good education system. The three high schools, Rochester Adams, Rochester High and Stoney Creek, per US News and World Report, were recently ranked in the top 30 high schools within Michigan.

Our public schools are worthy of Investment. Investing in our local schools and helping them to continue to succeed year after year is an investment in our kids. The investment in right technology that can be used in classrooms is essential for our kids to compete not only at the local level, but at national and global level. The U.S. education system is mediocre compared to the rest of the world, according to an international ranking of OECD countries. We cannot let that continue. It is important we invest in teachers and classrooms. In some schools teachers are using their own funds to provide for paper and supplies in the classroom. Many programs are being cut off making it difficult for kids of families who are struggling economically to receive a well-rounded, quality education.

Public school systems take on a major responsibility in any community. They strive not only to provide best education but create an opportunity for children with special needs and adults that did not receive an education. The development of a successful education system requires active engagement from parents, teachers, local schools, Community Colleges, Universities, and businesses. Public schools should have the ability to expand offerings in skilled trades and summer internships in partnership with Chambers, businesses, government and non-profits. Every student should receive quality career guidance before leaving high school. By providing students with 21st century skills and the tools, we can effectively equip them to be a part of a strong, successful workforce that can fill 21st century jobs.

Ravi Yalamanchi
Candidate for Mayor
Rochester Hills

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and onlineā€¦ all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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