JCPS: Hargens will not recommend tax increase - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS: Hargens will not recommend tax increase

Posted: Updated:
WDRB file photo. JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens listens to School of Innovation proposals at a JCPS board meeting. WDRB file photo. JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens listens to School of Innovation proposals at a JCPS board meeting.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Less than a week after advertising the potential for a property tax increase, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens will not recommend an increase at the Aug. 25 school board meeting.

Helene Kramer, a spokesperson for JCPS, said Wednesday evening Hargens would not recommend a tax increase. According to the district's release, Hargens recommends the approval of an unchanged tax rate. 

“It has always been my goal to recommend no tax rate increase for Fiscal Year 2014-15,” said Hargens. “In order to be the best possible stewards of Jefferson County taxpayers' money, we took a great deal of time to analyze and reanalyze every line item of the budgetto determine whether this could be done in the best interest of our students.”

Despite Hargens' recommendation, the school board could still seek an increase at Monday's meeting in order to balance its $1.3 billion budget, according to a legal advertisement that ran in the Courier-Journal on Friday and Sunday.

The district advertised up to a 2.8 percent increase in the property tax rate – from the current rate of 71 cents - per $100 of assessed value - to 73 cents. Under that rate, the owner of a house assessed at $100,000 would owe $730, $20 more than last year.

The district also advertised two alternative options: raising the rate to only 72 cents, which is a $10 increase for every $100,000 of assessed home value; or keeping the rate unchanged.

If a property tax is approved, it would be the seventh straight year the district has raised property taxes.

Property owners in Jefferson County have seen their school tax rates steadily climb over the last decade.

In 2004-05, the owner of a $100,000 home would have paid the school district $592 in property taxes -- $124 less than what the current rate yields. That equates to a 21 percent increase over the past 10 years.

Last year, board members David Jones Jr. and Chris Brady voted against Hargens' recommendation to raise taxes 3.1 percent. Jones suggested a 1.4 percent hike instead and that is what was passed by the board.

Under state law, a taxing district can adjust its rate annually, but the new rate cannot result in its revenue increasing by more than 4 percent. Any increase exceeding 4 percent requires a petition that puts the increase up for a referendum.

With a rate increase to 73 cents, the district would bring in $434 million in property taxes.

Aside from property taxes, JCPS gets about $26 million in motor vehicle taxes each year, as well as $134 million in occupational taxes deducted from the paychecks of workers in Jefferson County.

The state has increased per-pupil spending this year from $3,827 to $3,911, so the district is getting more money to spend per student.

However, the state also mandated pay raises for employees. In Jefferson County, officials have to come up with $6.2 million to cover the 1 percent raise and $10.4 million to cover the mandated increase in step raises.

Approximately two-thirds of the budget goes to fund the district's 155 schools, with the rest funding facilities/transportation, administrative instructional support, administrative operations and other systemwide costs.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0839 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.