LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools needs about $1 billion to fix all of its facilities, and some say raising taxes is the way to do it.
JCPS has long said it needs more money to fix its schools and build new ones.
"We need new revenue," board member James Craig said. "It's not going to come from Frankfort. Where else is it going to come from?"
So Craig supports the nickel tax, which would take 5 cents for every $100 in assessed property value. The state will match dollars, and school districts can use those funds specifically for facility needs.
It would give JCPS an extra $30 million each year.
"It's really hard to find $100 million for a new high school in our operating fund when we also need to take into consideration the children's mental health needs, nutritional needs and particular education needs of each individual child," Craig said.
All Kentucky school districts have the option to impose a nickel tax. JCPS hasn't tapped into that resource, which is something the state has suggested.
Craig thinks better facilities will bring more families to JCPS instead of choosing private schools.
"What if we put a new football field behind Ballard High School that matched St. X's?" he asked. "That is going to go a long way in improving the overall health of Jefferson County Public Schools in the long run."
The school board also has the authority to increase property taxes up to 4 percent annually. It voted to do that last year and will revisit tax increases again this summer.
"There are no plans right now to bring a nickel tax before the board, at least that I am aware of," Craig said. "But there have been discussions about revenue challenges."
Craig said he will continue to "strongly" push for the nickel tax during budget and revenue discussions in the future.
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