LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Despite an ongoing legal battle, Jefferson County voters will see a question on their ballots this election regarding a JCPS tax increase.
The wording of it has prompted some viewers to reach out to WAVE 3 News for clarification on what exactly it’s asking.
The tax levy question reads:
“Are you for or against the Jefferson County Board of Education better supporting the education of students in Jefferson County Public Schools, including improvements to school facilities, by levying a real estate and personal property tax of seven additional cents ($0.07) per one hundred dollars ($100) valuation?”
The answers available to voters are “yes” and “no.”
A spokesperson for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office said it didn’t write the question but hopes to provide clarity by sending out inserts with absentee ballots and providing onsite notices to in-person voters.
According to the JCCO, those will read, “Tax Levy Question: What your vote means. A “Yes” vote is a vote “for” the question. A “No” vote is a vote “against” the question.”
The measure would generate $54 million annually at a cost of around $70 per year for a home worth $100,000.
Community groups have formed for and against the measure.
The group No JCPS Tax Hike petitioned to allow voters to challenge the increase this fall.
“In this particular instance, JCPS ranks high in spending and low in performance,” Theresa Camoriano, who leads the effort to petition the issue, said, during a Louisville Forum debate against JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio.
The JCPS board voted in August to allow Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio to file an appeal with a county circuit court judge challenging the petition because of alleged errors and duplicate signatures.
The case is ongoing with another court date set for later this month.
If approved, funds would specifically be used to build new facilities and renovate old ones, for student support programs, racial equity initiatives aimed at eliminating the achievement gap, and additional instruction time.
“What’s going to help lift us out of a pandemic?” asked Audwin Helton, a leader of Yes4JCPS, a group of business and community members in support of the measure. “What’s going to make us rise in this environment of social injustice? I happen to believe that it’s education. How do we double down on what’s going to rise the fastest?"
Camoriano has questioned funding new buildings, and the tax increase as a whole, claiming poor policies are the primary issue JCPS needs to be concerned with.
“You build a nice new building and you put the same policies in place that weren’t working before,” Camoriano said. “I don’t know that you’re going to see any improvement.”
Helton said, as a business owner, he thinks the increase is necessary.
“As a business owner, you’re going to need students to come out making sure that they are ready to be employed by you," he said. "So, maybe you don’t have a child in JCPS. I don’t anymore, but with my business, I will be looking to employ.”
Election Day is on Nov. 3. The deadline to request an absentee ballot in Kentucky is Oct. 9.
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