Education

Jefferson County Public Schools will hold a public hearing this week on a proposal to raise the district’s tax rate. Officials say the district could generate $20 million in revenue by raising property taxes.

The money would be used to pay for things like elementary school art teachers, incentive pay for teachers in struggling schools and the district’s new race and equity policy, according to JCPS officials.

The district is proposing to increase the tax rate to 72.5 cents per $100 assessed value for real estate and personal property. The rate was 70.4 cents in the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30.

For a property owner who has a $100,000 home, that’s $725 in taxes, or an extra $21 more than what the owner paid the previous year.

Property owners would see the increase in their bills in October.

Legally, a district in Kentucky can change its tax rate annually as long as the rate does not account for revenue increasing more than four percent.

According to a news release from JCPS, the district also expects $170 million in occupational taxes from Louisville Metro government.

Eighty-one percent of children in Louisville attend a school within JCPS. There are approximately 100,000 students and more than 6,000 teachers at JCPS. More than half of the students in the Commonwealth’s largest school district are students of color.

In an audit of the district handed down by Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis in late April, Lewis said evidence pointed to “a pattern of a significant lack of efficiency and effectiveness in the governance and administration of the JCPS.”  He cited the district’s need for more funding to improve facilities. He said the district did not approve a four percent tax rate that would’ve generated $16 million per year.

“Had it been adopted, a portion of this would have been restricted for facilities,” Lewis said in the audit report.

Residents can attend the public hearing on the proposed hike on Tuesday, August 28, at the Van Hoose Education Center at 5 p.m. The school board is expected to vote on the measure at its regular meeting at 7:00 p.m.