JCPS board members vote unanimously for tax rate increase for fifth consecutive year

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by Bryan Baker

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 28 at 4:00 AM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) -- With an attitude of reluctance but great need, all seven Jefferson County school board members voted to increase property tax rates 3.4 percent, or about $23 for each $100,000 of a home's property value.

It's the fifth consecutive year the board raised rates to keep up with state and federal funding cuts for items and programs. Board members highlighted the sway in local educational funding, from majority state and federal funding two decades ago to majority funding based on local schools, leaving few options but to increase taxes.

Discussion didn't take very long, with each of the board members resigned to the fact that to increase student achievement to make strides toward graduation and provide for basic educational needs, the tax increase had to be made.

An estimated $17 million more will be brought in to pay for academic support staff and assistant principals, summer programs, textbooks, and learning centers, among other programs. Costs will continue to increase in the coming years according to JCPS, but board member Joe Hardesty vowed the increases "won't happen every year."

Despite concerns about the added dollars actually translating to success in the classroom, board member Linda Duncan said every demographic group has increased test scores since 2002.

Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens made the recommendations for the increase, which was accepted. Dr. Hargens said JCPS would cut spending for budget items that did not directly contribute to student success and vowed to gear the added dollars towards students.

JCPS Chief Academic Officer Dr. Dewey Hensley said programs that aren't working will be dropped based on increased attention to research on program effectiveness.

You will see the tax increase reflected on your November tax bill.

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