LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public School Board President Steve Imhoff is leaving his position on the board at the beginning of the year and there are four people running in the election to take over. They'll be representing District 2 which includes Atherton, Seneca, Buechel Metro and Waggener High Schools.
The JCPS school board can raise property taxes by up to four percent just by a vote. All four candidates in District 2 had a wide range of opinions not only about the board's recent vote to do that, but also how they would set the funding if elected in November.
Elizabeth Berfield is a stay-at-home mom with her masters degree. She said she wanted to run to represent first time parents who are choosing JCPS for its diversity. She said her family is going to take a hit with the recent property tax increase voted by the board, but wouldn't be opposed to doing the same if elected. "I would support a reasonable tax increase. We need to make sure that the tax money is being spent wisely. I think that our community understand that if they're getting a good return on their investment that is the proper way to go about spending."
Phil Haming, who taught English at Newburg Middle School before going into sales, said the board raises taxes too much. "It's appalling for five years in a row they've raised the property taxes and the student achievement rates, scores haven't improved. "I know the state has limited their funding and they've cut back on the money we're getting but we are living in severe economic times right now."
He said the board can find ways to deal with money issues by keeping better track of how they base teacher salaries.
David Jones said he's running to help with the funding and technology issues at JCPS. He owns a company that helps small start-up businesses and is also on the board for Humana. He said the board needs to spend money more wisely in tough times. "Hopefully we can free up enough money through cost management, but overtime if the choice is presented between having under educated kids in Jefferson County because the feds and the state are pulling the rug out or raising local taxes, I will raise local taxes."
George Tolhurst is retired business owner who said he's running because he thinks the board is ignoring what the community wants and needs. He's also against raising taxes and thinks spending less money on busing will make up for budget shortfalls. "They just spend it as fast as they can. We've got the biggest hybrid bus fleet in the nation we've got one of the ten largest transportation systems in the nation that's private and public school, one of the ten largest."
Haming said he also is against the current way JCPS buses students. Jones said he believes giving parents a choice is the best option, while Berfield said the city is not diverse enough for neighborhood schools, but she hopes some day it will be.
Click on the candidates names to the right of this story to watch their full interviews on other topics including why they decided to run and what they think the current board is doing well.
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