JCPS considering tax increase for facility needs

JCPS considering tax increase for facility needs
Jefferson County Public Schools.
Jefferson County Public Schools.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With a billion dollars worth of unmet facility needs, JCPS is considering raising property taxes.

“We’re not excited about raising taxes but people need to understand what a tremendous impact this would have on the city if we were able to do it,” board member James Craig said.

Over at Shawnee High, the third floor has been condemned for years. Renovations there and the building of four new schools recently passed through the board.

“Showing up to school every day in a building that you’re proud to be in, that you’re comfortable in, that lends itself to the 21st century learning experience, it just has to have an effect on what’s going on inside the building,” Craig said.

To continue that work, about $1 billion is needed for necessary facility improvements. The KDE is suggesting a nickel tax to pay for it. It would raise the current property tax rate of 72.5 cents for every $100 of assessed real estate to 78.1 cents. That’s $781 dollars for a home assessed at $100,000. Up to 16 new schools could be built.

WAVE 3 News Education Expert Sam Corbett isn’t so sure tax payers will go for it.

“I would suggest in the age we live in with social media and the ability to communicate so easily that I think 30,000 people would sign a petition, this would be on the ballet in the next election cycle and I’m not sure it would be approved,” Corbett said.

WAVE 3 News Education Expert Sam Corbett.
WAVE 3 News Education Expert Sam Corbett. (Source: JCPS)

Board member Chris Brady agrees that people want to know where their money is going and once they do, they’ll see why the increase is necessary.

“It’s really incumbent on all of us to be able to present a clear vision as to what those funds will be used for,” Brady said. “I think the district should come out with visualizations as to what buildings could look like. Maybe even creating 3-D models, virtual reality, mock-ups, seeing what classrooms could look like on the inside.”

JCPS is also looking at a few other options including a utility tax. They would have more flexibility as to where that money would go. There’s a lot of variables with that one and they aren’t sure exactly how much that could generate.

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