Jefferson Co. Board of Education authorizes legal challenge of tax recall petition

Action questions ‘number of valid, registered Jefferson County voters and their information’

August 18, 2020 – Citing a host of irregularities, the Jefferson County Board of Education will be challenging the certification of a tax recall petition by the Jefferson County Clerk’s office. The board voted Tuesday night to take legal action to uphold its approval of a 7-cent increase in local property taxes to fund overdue construction, renovation and academic improvements in JCPS schools.

“We owe it to our current and future students, parents and teachers to challenge the county clerk’s ruling,” said Diane Porter, school board chair. “This is about doing what’s right for students and we don’t believe the petition contains the number of valid, registered Jefferson County voters and their information required by law.”

A review of the petition by the Jefferson County Teachers Association found duplicate names, erroneous addresses and birthdates and missing information totaling in the thousands, raising serious questions about the validity of these signatures.  

“We’re confident the petition did not meet the standards set forth in legislation,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, JCPS superintendent. “But if the courts disagree with us, I look forward to making the case to Jefferson County voters that JCPS has a critical, immediate need for new revenue so our students have academic opportunities, classrooms and athletic facilities that are similar to those in other Kentucky public school districts.”  

On May 21, the Jefferson County Board of Education voted to raise the local school property tax rate from 73.6 cents to 80.6 cents per $100 of assessed property, which would generate about $51 million in new revenue for the district. Opponents had 50 days to gather enough valid signatures of registered Jefferson County voters to recall the board’s action and place the issue on the Nov. 3 ballot. The school board’s legal action is expected to challenge the validity of thousands of signatures as well as the clerk’s process for certifying them.