JCPS Board members vote 5-2 to pass $1.3 billion budget

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by Amy Stallings

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 28 at 6:11 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Jefferson County Public Schools board approved a $1.3 billion budget for the 2014-2015 school year late Tuesday night and the district said the focus is to shift spending from administration to schools and classrooms.

The Board voted 5-2 to pass the budget just after 9:30 p.m. The two votes against were from David Jones and Chris Brady, both said they were unsure of their understanding of the budget and wanted more information.

The budget was developed before the release of an audit that showed JCPS spent the most money on administrative costs and the least on instruction. The audit also criticized board members' true knowledge of their own budget.

JCPS superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said next year's budget will be crucial for literacy programs and mental health professionals within the district. The budget also includes a 1 percent raise for staff.

"I want everyone to understand it. We want to be totally transparent. we want everyone to understand where every dollar goes. So, we know we haven't accomplished, what we need to to if board members are frustrated and don't know. So, we will work to present the budget in a way to make sure they understand it and aren't frustrated," Hargens said.

The budget is tentative and will be finalized after the beginning of the school year when enrollment numbers and supplemental funding are finalized.

"We have 60 days to do a detailed response. But, within that time, we'll also develop an action plan and bring that to the board for approval so that we can move forward with making improvements. We consider the audit to be a tool to improve," Hargens said.

Hargens said $1.3 billion is pretty typical for a district the same size as JCPS and they will have a working budget by September.

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