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    The Jefferson County Board of Education, after deliberating for nearly two hours, passed a record $1.4 billion dollar budget for the 2015-2016 school year. Board members David Jones Jr. and Chris Brady dissented on the vote, stating they could not approve a spending plan they didn’t fully understand.

    “This is not about a lack of confidence,” Jones said at the meeting, “I just don’t feel like I have the information I need to do my job as a board member and vote on this budget.”

    Superintendent Donna Hargens said that this budget guarantees that “our students and schools are at the center of our universe.”

    The budget will take effect July 1 and include a general fund of $1.1 billion. Local taxes fund 60 percent of the general fund, while state revenue accounts for the rest. The additional money will come from discontinuing unsuccessful programs as well as $16 million per-pupil spending from the state and $4 million more from local occupational taxes.  The school is also planning on pulling about $10 million from its contingency reserve to balance the 2015-2016 budget.

    The school system is also relying on a 4 percent tax revenue increase to balance its budget. A 4 percent tax revenue increase does not necessarily mean a percentage increase in the tax rate, pending on how property valuations turn out this summer. “At this point, I don’t have all the variables in order to tell you what the rate will do,” JCPS Chief Financial Officer Cordelia Hardin said, further explaining that the additional property tax revenue could come from a tax hike or property assessments.

    When the JCPS budget is broken down, the district, which has around 100,000 students, is spending an average of $12,773 on every student, about $1,500 above the state average. 

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