Taxpayers still funding Greater Clark School construction projec - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Taxpayers still funding Greater Clark School construction projects despite no vote

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Taxpayers said no to it, but they will have to pay anyway, now that Greater Clark County schools has found a new way to fund construction.

Three classrooms, all connected. 90 students. No doors.

"Hopefully you have an understanding neighbor," said sixth grade teacher Crystal Merrifield. "Obviously we need doors and walls for safety and instruction." 

It's the reason Greater Clark County Schools has River Valley Middle School on its new construction list. The district will borrow  $14 million to fund 13 school projects and charge taxpayers with the bill. 

It's particularly frustrating for voters like Jimmy Atcher.

"Those things may be needed, but I feel like it should be up to the citizens to determine," said Atcher.

Greater Clark County Schools put a school tax increase on the ballot last fall to fund facility upgrades and it failed with 75-percent of voters saying no. The district won't have to go back to a vote this time because each project is under $2 million. 

Critics accuse the Superintendent of being sneaky, finding loopholes and ignoring the voters voice. 

"Not at all," said Dr. Andy Melin, the Superintendent. "The referendum was asking for $105 million. People voted no to $105 million." 

"But now they don't have the option to vote on 14," said WDRB's Gilbert Corsey.

"But the state law allows for us to come back on smaller projects," Melin said. Ween asked if he's finding a  caveat in the law Melin responded, "You know what the work has to be done. If I don't do something to improve these facilities then I'm going to be negligent." 

In addition to security upgrades, the work also includes new classrooms, improved libraries and roof repairs at many campuses.

"In January of each year, we're going to come back," Melin said. "We're going to continue to have a rolling five-year capital projects plan."

"I feel like that he's basically saying, 'I'm going to do whatever it is that I want to do to get the things that I fell like we need,'" said Atcher.

The average Clark County homeowner will pay about $20 more a year in property tax.

Clark County homeowner Linda Wakefiled said, "I have a granddaughter reading to head to elementary school and I feel like the improvements need to be made. I for one as a taxpayer don't mind if it's going to better our schools and our Childrens' education."

Three classrooms, 90 students, no doors -- and no regrets from Greater Clark Schools.

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