JCPS board to vote on potential tax increase - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS board to vote on potential tax increase

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Jefferson County Board of Education will vote Monday night on whether to increase property taxes--again.  If the school board approves a tax increase, it would be the seventh straight year the district has done so.

Superintendent Donna Hargens does not want to increase taxes. Last week, an ad appeared in the Courier Journal - saying the district was considering raising property taxes nearly 3 percent.

The Jefferson County Teachers Association wants the hike. JCTA sent a letter to Hargens and the school board asking them to approve the 2.8 percent increase at the meeting. It would bring in more than $15 million for the district.

JCPS advertised the potential for a property tax increase Aug. 15. However, on Wednesday, Hargens said she would not be recommending an increase.

"We're extremely disappointed in the superintendent's recommendation,” said JCTA president Brent McKim. “We could do more for (our students) if we're recommending the full amount like many other superintendents do and every superintendent I've ever worked under prior to this one always made kids the priority and asked for the full funding for the system."

On Friday, Hargens told WDRB News the district's budget "increases funding for schools, adds supports for students, and provides an investment in our employees who impact children every day.

"I am confident we can achieve this without putting an extra burden on taxpayers this year which is why I am recommending no increase in the tax rate," Hargens said.

Under the 2.8 percent proposal, the owner of a house assessed at $100,000 would owe $730 or about $20 more than last year.  Homeowners would see the change this November.  The district is also advertising two alternative options: a smaller increase to the rate, or keeping the rate unchanged.

The school board has ultimate authority and can accept the superintendent's recommendation or decide to do something different.

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.

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.

The school board will hold a public hearing about the potential tax increase at 6:45 p.m. and will vote on the issue at the 7 p.m. To sign up to speak before the meeting, call 485-3342. Both meetings will be held at the Van Hoose Education Center, 3331 Newburg Road. 

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

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