Education

The JCPS board of education will vote Tuesday night on whether to raise Jefferson County property taxes to support public schools. The school board will hold a public hearing beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday to take input on the proposed property tax increases before taking a final vote later that evening. 

The school board will vote on whether to raise county tax rates on real estate and personal property by 1.1 cent on every dollar of property. The result would mean a homeowner with a $100,000 house would pay 11 dollars more in property tax compared to last year. 

That would help JCPS raise an additional $30.8 million to support public education and build new schools, up from the $497 million that would be raised under the previous tax rate. 

Board member Chris Brady says JCPS would use any additional revenue raised to fund the school district’s many priorities, including employing additional mental health counselors in schools, developing an internal security team, and improving school facilities. 

At the board meeting, JCPS CEO Cordelia Hardin will present a plan for how the additional $30.8 million dollars raised by the tax increase would be spent, including:

  • $22.5 million for instruction;
  • $3.8 million for maintenance of plant;
  • $1.96 million for transportation;
  • $1.76 million for the building fund;
  • $615,000 for the cost of tax collections.

Brady has also noted that one of the district’s rising costs is its required contributions to state pensions for teachers. JCPS Chief of Communications Renee Murphy said the district is estimating it will pay about $5.4 million more to the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System this current school year compared to the previous school year. That’s because the Bevin administration has adopted more pessimistic assumptions for the state’s pension plans, which require agencies like JCPS to pay more.

School boards in Kentucky typically review tax rate changes each fall and are entitled to an up to 4% rise in county tax revenue each year under state law. If the county’s property tax revenue does not rise by that amount as the result of a gain in property value alone, the school board can approve a tax increase to make up the difference. Any tax increase that amounts to a greater than 4% rise in revenue would have to go before voters for approval in a recall election.

A JCPS spokesperson has confirmed that the proposed tax increase under consideration will not be subject to a recall election because it is equal to a 4% rise in revenue. 

Anyone wishing to speak during the school board’s 5 p.m. public comment period can sign up right before the meeting or contact the board’s secretary, per board policy.

 

Liz Schlemmer is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.