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JCPS Tax Recall Measure To Appear On Nov. Ballot, But Votes May Not Count

Liz Schlemmer

The Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) has brought a lawsuit challenging the validity of a petition to let voters weigh in on a 7-cent property tax increase the board passed in May. But no matter which way the court rules, voters will still see the question on the November ballot.

In a call with Judge Brian Edwards Monday, attorneys for all parties acknowledged that the court could not issue a ruling before the Jefferson County Clerk's office has to print the ballots, on Sept. 11.

"The clerk believes--and the law supports--that they need to follow the statutory guidelines as laid out about conducting an election until the court tells them not to," Jefferson County Clerk's office attorney Jeff Derouen said.

Edwards granted a motion to expedite the case and try to rule before Election Day on Nov. 3. The hearing was set for Oct. 9, which the judge hoped would leave an opportunity for either side to appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court and get a ruling before Nov. 3.

Absentee ballots are scheduled to be mailed out beginning Sept. 15, and early voting begins on Oct. 13, which means voters will have a chance to weigh in on the item, without knowing whether the tax increase is really subject to their approval.

The petition to recall the tax increase gathered more than 40,000 signatures, 38,507 of which were certified by the county clerk's office. That surpassed the 35,517-signature threshold needed to get the measure on the November ballot.

The Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA), and the Jefferson County Board of Education have called thousands of certified signatures into question. A review by the JCTA found hundreds of duplicate signatures, and thousands with wrong addresses or birth dates.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.