Greater Clark County Schools granted $22 million for improvement - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Greater Clark County Schools granted $22 million for improvements at 3 schools

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB)-- Open classrooms, with no walls or doors, was a trend among middle and elementary schools across the country for years. 

But, in a time where school shootings happen almost regularly, that trend is getting squashed.

Greater Clark County Schools has been looking for a way to close up classrooms and the library at three of its schools: Charlestown Middle, River Valley Middle and Northaven Elementary. 

"Let's do this so we can continue to improve our school system," said GCCS Superintendent Andrew Melin.

But the way the district has been going about it has met contentious debate. 

Bill Hawkins, owner of several rental properties, was part of it. He's already dealt with an increase in property taxes this year.

"It's not that I don't think it should cost us," he said. "What I'm concerned with is the money they used for other things that could be applied to this."

After a failed referendum in 2015 that asked for over $100 million, the district tried something called a petition-remonstrance process, meaning both sides collected signatures across the county. The side with the most names won.

"We won by about 2,500 signatures," said Melin, adding that the average Clark County homeowner will pay an additional $30 per year.

"There are people in our community that don't want to pay any more taxes for anything, and I respect that," he said. "But I'm the superintendent of the school system, and this is the only way I can do this."

Hawkins worries it won't stop here, that the district will demand more. 

"We're going to keep fighting," he vowed.  

For Melin, it's about school security, and he says that will always come with a cost. 

"Bottom line: We're doing this for our students," Melin said.

Work on the improvements could begin as soon as this fall.

Related Stories:

Clark County farmers fighting proposed school referendum, property tax increase

Greater Clark Schools vote for new plan to improve buildings

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