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Voters could decide on a property tax increase that would support schools in Jefferson County

The property tax increase will now be put on the ballot for a public vote in the Jefferson County School district.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Jefferson County Board of Elections confirmed Monday a petition received enough verifiable signatures to recall a property tax hike in Jefferson County and send it to a public vote.

This comes after the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education voted 5 to 2 in May to raise property taxes by 7 cents, but not everyone is happy with the decision.

The board said the money will be used for things like building new schools and fixing infrastructure, as well as closing the achievement gap by reducing the student to teacher ratio and bringing support staff into the school buildings.

Two board members, Chris Brady and Linda Duncan, voted against the tax hike, citing the financial struggles many families are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the vote, a 50-day period began for a petitioner to get about 40,000 signatures to put the tax increase on the November ballot; that time period ended July 11.

The board of elections says they receive 40,320 signed petitions on July 10. Some were signed electronically, the board says. A total of 38,507 were accepted and certified by the BOE office. 

What will a tax hike look like? We did the math.

What will that tax increase look like for families in Jefferson County? The tax rate would change from 73.6 to 80.6 cents, which would cost about $70 more per year (a little less than 20 cents a day) on a home valued at $100,000. The increase would be active for the 2020-21 fiscal year and would bring in an estimated gross revenue of $594 million to the school district.

Here's the wish list Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio laid out in May:

Facility changes

  • Two new middle schools in West Louisville ($64 million)
  • One new high school in West Louisville ($75 million)
  • Renovation of four new proposed magnet schools for state-of-the-art buildings (est. $68 million)
  • Double the amount of school renovations per year (additional $50 million)
  • Increase annual facility improvement budget ($12 million)
  • Renovation of high school athletic facilities ($25 million)

Planning for the future

  • Increase summer and extended learning opportunities for students
  • Teacher pay increase 
  • Additional funds for Accelerated Improvement Schools (AIS), including hiring more support staff and smaller class sizes

“The beauty of this recommendation is that it is a community decision,” Superintendent Pollio said. “I believe with these improvements, we will begin to impact children in ways that have never been done in this community in the years to come.”

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