‘Yes 4 JCPS’ says facilities directly related to student achievement,
more improvements needed all over district
Yes 4 JCPS, a non-profit group of community and business leaders, applauded the groundbreaking today of a new elementary school in southwest Jefferson County, noting that more new and renovated facilities would be available with increased tax revenue.
Studies have found that students perform better in school in newer buildings – where improved technology, better climate control, and modern security systems create healthier, safer, and “smarter” learning environments.
About a week ago, the district held a groundbreaking in the Newburg area, launching construction on an elementary school that will replace Indian Trail Elementary School. Teachers there reported that kids were shivering in some classrooms and that the air quality was poor.
“Everyone in the city should be excited about these new school facilities – but we need many more improvements like this,” said Alice Houston, chair of the Yes 4 JCPS steering committee. “From Valley Station to California to Fern Creek, nearly every neighborhood in the city needs educational investments.”
The new school will be only the third new school built in JCPS in the past decade and the first in Southwest Louisville this century. A small increase in the tax assessment, currently being voted on by Jefferson County voters, would make investments like this more common in the district. The new school will cost $17 million.
On the back of the ballot right now, there is a measure that would collect an additional $54 million a year to improve JCPS programs and facilities. The tax assessment would be modest for individual homeowners, collecting an extra $70 a year for a home worth $100,000.
The new school, which will be the new academic homes for students who attend Wilkerson and Watson Lane Elementary schools, will have the state-of-the art technology and energy efficient features that will provide more comfortable school environments at a lower cost.
The Board of Education has committed to spending the assessment money in four key areas.
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.