Greater Clark County Schools makes third attempt to secure fundi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Greater Clark County Schools makes third attempt to secure funding for construction

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Is the third time the charm? The stage is set for a signature showdown in Greater Clark County Schools as the district tries for a third time to get a construction project approved. 

It's a $22 million fight for funding, with kids and taxpayers in the balance.

At Northaven Elementary School, geography, mathematics and the history of Thanksgiving are being taught simultaneously in three different classrooms -- and if student Jenna Kelley listens closely, she can hear all three at the same time.

That's because of open doors -- and a lack of walls.

"This is priority Number One: just taking care of the open concept buildings and getting doors and walls," explained Laura Morris, principal of Northaven Elementary School.

About 100 third graders are packed into three different classrooms at the school -- but those classrooms are only walled off by bookshelves. There's not a door separating any of them.

The effort to close the "open" concept at Northaven Elementary School, Charlestown Middle School and River Valley Middle School is not just about noise. School leaders say it's about kids' safety.

"I don't like when it's open because if we do have an intruder, they can just come in," Jenna.

But Greater Clark County Schools faces public pushback. This marks the district's third attempt to enclose these schools. It failed as part of a bigger bond package and then was blocked again by state regulation. 

Alice Butler leads Stop GCCS' Wasteful Spending -- a group of parents, voters and taxpayers watching the district's spending. 

"Just tell us the truth," Butler said. "Too much goes on behind closed doors -- and that's what bother me."

"You have to put your needs before wants," Butler added.

The accountant says each time these projects come forward, the amount changes. This time the enclosures are only half of the $22 million in construction. The rest builds new classrooms, libraries and heating and air conditioning units.

"The problem is we feel it should go to the taxpayers to make that decision," Butler said. "It's a lot of money."

The only way to stop the funding is for the public to petition 500 signatures on each school project. Then, it's basically a signature battle: whichever side gathers the most names wins. 

"I'm very positive," said Morris. "I think this time we've got it right."

But for 9-year-old Jenna, it all comes down to one simple thing. 

"Yeah, I would like to have a door," Jenna said.

If passed, the school construction would cost the average Clark County homeowner about $35 more a year on their property tax bills. 

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