Increased Investment Will Create Better Schools, Greater Equity for All Children
Leading employers, labor unions, community groups, business organizations and media outlets are speaking up for Louisville’s children, urging voters to vote “Yes” for increased funding for Jefferson County Public Schools on the upcoming ballot.
“At a time when too many people are divided, it’s heartening to see people across the spectrum —Democratic and Republican, labor and business, parents and teachers — all united to support a greater and more equitable investment in our children, our economy and our future,” said Alice Houston, chairwoman of the Yes 4 JCPS campaign.
Voters are urged to flip their ballot to the back and vote yes for the “tax levy question” that will provide much-needed funding for schools in all parts of Jefferson County at a cost of about $2 a week for the average property owner in Louisville.
The Courier-Journal directly related the measure to issues of racial equity, saying “At a time when our community is reckoning with systemic racism and daily protests demanding real solutions, it is heartening to see Kentucky’s largest school district create a detailed, holistic plan to improve equity and achievement.”
The campaign today announced the endorsements of leaders and employers representing tens of thousands of Louisville residents. The outpouring of support includes:
- Greater Louisville Inc., the Metro Chamber of Commerce
- GE Appliances
- Louisville Urban League
- Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
- Metro United Way
- Fairness Coalition
- 15,000 Degrees
- AROS Louisville (Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools)
- Greater Louisville Central Labor Council
- Jefferson County Teachers Association
- Jefferson County Public Education Foundation
- The Courier Journal
- Louisville Forward
- Neighborhood House
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 369
- United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 227
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3425
- Fund for the Arts
- League of Women Voters
- PTA District 15
- Jefferson Community and Technical College
- Doctors for Healthy Communities
About Yes 4 JCPS
The 7-cent property tax assessment will create about $54 million in funding, which will be used to support JCPS’ ambitious plan to improve student outcomes called the JCPS Future State. It’s a five-year initiative designed to:
- reduce the achievement gap by 50%
- raise the proficiency level in reading from 44% to 75%
- raise the proficiency level in math from 35% to 70%.
This initiative represents the first time that a plan of its scope and magnitude will have specific year-over-year funding to effect the changes envisioned. It also includes built-in annual accountability measures to ensure that the investments are paying off.
The Jefferson County School Board passed a resolution in September 2020 pledging to invest the $54 million in the following four dedicated areas:
- Improving resources for students and schools with the highest needs — at least $15 million
Providing extra services to students who need them most, developing the highest quality educators, providing incentives to attract and retain the best teachers.
- Addressing racial equity — at least $12 million
Addressing the achievement gap, bridging the digital divide, providing resources regardless of geographical location, expanding opportunities for Black teachers and teachers of color, and providing a nearby option for school for all families.
- Increasing student instructional time — at least $12 million
Summer learning programs for 10,000 students, offering new experiences beyond the classroom, assuring that every student has a computer or laptop
- Building and/or renovating schools for safety and engagement — at least $15 million
Build two new middle schools and one new high school, renovate schools with end-of-life systems and modernize athletic facilities. More than 30 JCPS schools have crucial systems (roofs, HVAC) at the end of functional life; without intervention, entire schools may be forced to close when those systems fail.