A non-partisan economic policy group has released a report showing large gaps in per-student funding among school districts that approved tax increases this year.
Around half of Kentucky school boards approved the maximum 4 % property tax increase to help fund public schools. That's partly because the state hasn’t raised per-pupil funding for a number of years.
The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy paper shows that some districts like Southgate Independent Schools in northern Kentucky will receive an additional $200 more per student through property taxes. While other districts like Bath County, in eastern Kentucky, will only receive $24 more per student.
“One of the consequences of that is that we’re going to make the gap between rich and poor schools even larger," says Jason Bailey, director of the center for economic policy.
Kentucky passed the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990 that ensured all students receive equitable funding across the state. But Bailey says through local tax increases a new type of inequity has been emerging over the last several years.
Many school boards, including Jefferson County, have joined Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday in calling on lawmakers to restore state education funding to pre-recession levels.