JCPS on 2016-17 budget priorities: 'Difficult decisions had to b - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS on 2016-17 budget priorities: 'Difficult decisions had to be made'

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The JCPS school board has approved $1.2 million to expand its ESL services. The Newcomer Academy at Shawnee High will also receive funding for an additional counselor and assistant principal. (WDRB file photo) The JCPS school board has approved $1.2 million to expand its ESL services. The Newcomer Academy at Shawnee High will also receive funding for an additional counselor and assistant principal. (WDRB file photo)
JCPS chief business officer Tom Hudson (WDRB file photo) JCPS chief business officer Tom Hudson (WDRB file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Over $21 million in budget requests were made by principals and other administrators in Jefferson County Public Schools for the 2016-17 school year, but only $7.6 million has been initially approved by the school board.

There is an additional $11.6 million in requests that are still being considered, according to a budget document that was discussed and approved by board on Tuesday night. Among those requests include $4 million to purchase new buses and $2 million to fix old buses and maintenance trucks.

But $2.4 million in requests -- ranging from added security guards and converting bilingual instructors to certified teachers and providing resources and tools to schools for end of the year benchmarks -- have been denied.

JCPS chief business officer Tom Hudson told board members he's been "labeled as the guy running around with the cookie cutter" but he has been trying to ensure that schools get "individual needs."

He added that through budget cuts, the district freed up about $6.3 million that can be used on higher priority items such as early childhood and ESL services for non-English speaking students across the district.

But with $7.6 million in funding already approved, and another $11.6 million still being considered, the district will need to either tap into its reserves or make additional cuts in the general fund in order to balance its budget, said Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for JCPS.

Schools that have had funding requests denied from the 2016-17 general fund may still fund those positions by finding additional resources or cutting existing programs in their individual budgets, Martin said.

John Collopy, the district's director of financial planning and management, sent out an email late Tuesday night, informing principals and administrators if their requests were approved or declined.

"With over $21 million in new-year budget requests, difficult decisions had to be made," reads Callopy's email to those whose requests were denied. "However, this decline is not a reflection on the great work that you and your team provide every day."

WDRB News requested to speak with the principals at Cochran Elementary, Price Elementary, Ballard High, Goldsmith Elementary and Johnsontown Road -- all schools that were denied funding -- but each of them individually declined to be interviewed, according to Martin.

Among the items that were approved on Tuesday:

  • $3.1 million in early childhood (includes 8 new preschool classrooms at Norton Commons Elementary School and converting five half-day preschool classrooms into full-day classrooms
  • $1.2 million to ESL services for non-English speaking students 
  • $224,088 on guidance counselors at Moore Traditional School
  • $207,924 on two middle school assistant principals for Valley High School
  • $205,310 on the continuation of the current administrative school support for the Academy @ Shawnee
  • $195,135 on teacher support at Thomas Jefferson Middle School
  • $144,346 on instructional support coaches in literacy and math at Western Middle School
  • $130,090 for a math and English interventionist at Pleasure Ridge Park High School
  • $108,770 on one assistant principal for ESL Newcomer Academy
  • $108,770 on one assistant principal for Doss High School
  • $108,770 on one assistant principal for Valley High School
  • $103,075 for extended day at Atkinson Elementary
  • $96,540 on counselor for Valley High School
  • $96,540 on counselor for ESL Newcomer Academy
  • $94,135 on a middle school counselor for Valley Prep
  • $74,795 on a priority school support position at Westport Middle School
  • $74,795 on a goal clarity coach at Jeffersontown High School
  • $72,173 on a goal clarity coach at Seneca High School
  • $72,173 on career readiness at Roosevelt Perry Elementary School
  • $72,173 on improving teacher effectiveness at Maupin Elementary School
  • $72,141 on remaining Instructor III positions at Semple Elementary School
  • $66,045 on music at Layne Elementary School
  • $65,045 on comprehensive literacy learning at Wheeler Elementary School
  • $65,045 on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program at Tully Elementary School
  • $65,045 on a math teacher at Butler High School
  • $65,045 on a positive action and learning coach at Atkinson Elementary
  • $33,850 on a success coach at Price Elementary
  • $32,646 on a success coach at Portland Elementary
  • $32,523 on ESL support in math at Lassiter Middle School
  • $32,523 on interventionist at Indian Trail Elementary School
  • $32,523 on life skills teacher at Butler High School
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Wilkerson Elementary
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Semple Elementary
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Rangeland Elementary
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Okolona Elementary
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Minors Lane Elementary School
  • $32,350 on success coach at Minors Lane Elementary School
  • $32,350 on a success coach at McFerran Academy
  • $32,350 on increased learning and safety at Maupin Elementary School
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Luhr Elementary
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Jeffersontown Elementary
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Gilmore Lane Elementary
  • $32,350 on an unspecified budget request for Gilmore Lane Elementary School
  • $32,350 on a computer lab instructor at Barret Traditional Middle School
  • $32,350 on a success coach at Fern Creek Elementary
  • $29,486 on half of a mental health position at Blue Lick Elementary School
  • $27,193 on student safety at Eastern High School
  • $20,814 on improving student literacy at Rangeland Elementary 
  • $17,920 on intervention and acceleration at Laukhauf Elementary School
  • $5,000 on minority math teacher at Eastern High School

Among the funding proposals that were declined by Hargens was $995,555 for additional security monitors, replacement vehicles and equipment. In addition, a request to spend an additional $4,015 on school board meeting security was declined.

Here is the complete report - Budget priorities for 2016-17:

The current year's budget is $1.4 billion, with $1.1 billion being funded by the general fund.

District-level meetings with Hargens and her staff will continue through April, which is when she and her staff will decided if any additional items are added to the tentative budget which be up for board approval in May.

The final working budget is not expected to be approved until September.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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