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Lexington, KY: Vote on $13.5M tax increase for school safety, mental health services

July 15, 2018, Lexington (KY) Herald Leader: Fayette schools could raise taxes this week for safety upgrade. What you need to know On Wednesday, the Fayette County Public Schools board will vote on Superintendent Manny Caulk’s far-reaching plan to make Lexington schools safer— including everything from more counselors to added metal detectors — paid for with $13.5 million in increased property taxes. Caulk will ask the board to add a 5‐cent property tax for every $100 of property value. Here are some answers to key questions about the proposal: The tax increase will pay for placing law enforcement officers in every school, hiring more mental health professionals, securing exterior school doors, constructing secure vestibules, partnering with University of Kentucky Adolescent Medicine to provide access to comprehensive assessment and health services for students in grades six through 12, expanding emergency planning and safety training, monitoring social media activity, and implementing metal detectors in every middle and high school. Why is it needed? Caulk says he wants children and those who educate them to be safe at school. After each shooting over the past two decades, including a fatal shooting in Marshall County earlier this year, he said educators, students and parents have wondered if it could happen in our community. He said that question was answered Feb. 17 when Lexington Police officers removed an AR‐15 semi‐automatic rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition from the bedroom of a Dunbar student who was later arrested for making threats to shoot up the school. The issue took on added urgency this spring when a Henry Clay student brought a gun to school, and a Douglass student shot himself in the hand during class. What if it doesn’t pass? Caulk said if the measure doesn’t pass, “then our schools will remain as vulnerable tomorrow as they are today.” The proposals in his safety plan would not be implemented….

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