One month into his job, Superintendent Kevin Hub is pushing for a vote on raising taxes to build a second high school in Scott County.
“Let’s move on,” he said in an interview this week. Building a second high school is unavoidable, he said. Scott County High School is at capacity and the county continues to draw in new families. That’s not going to change, he said.
Hub said Thursday the Board of Education should hold a public hearing Aug. 18 to implement the 5-cent equivalent tax increase to pay for the $48 million construction. He asked the board to vote following the public hearing.
With the average house in Scott County valued at $150,000, the tax increase would be about $75 per household, he said.
“We owe the community a decision,” said Hub, who was previously superintendent of Logan County schools.
And, he said, when the new school opens to serve 750 students, it would not be done in phases as had been previously discussed. There is no time to waste, he said, because even if the board acts as he has requested, the high school wouldn’t open until 2018.
According to Kentucky law, if the board votes for the tax, county voters can submit a petition to recall the tax and Scott County residents could vote on the issue in the November general election.
Hub said he knew that there is concern within the community about the impact on Scott County’s sports teams if they split the students into two schools. Scott County football won the state championship in 2013 and is a perennial powerhouse among the state’s largest schools. The girls’ softball team won state in 2016 and 2014. Basketball, baseball and a number of other sports teams are also consistently state and regional winners.
I think with the case I’m making that it’s pretty easy to see that we need a second high school. This is not going to go away.
Scott County Superintendent Kevin Hub
Hub said he sees the new high school as an opportunity for more kids to participate in teams and get playing time. It will also double the opportunity for students to participate in academic teams and clubs or the marching band.
Talk of the need for a new high school stretches back to at least 2012, after a billboard appeared in town and an anonymous campaign began on a website SCHSTooBIG. That website has morphed into a still anonymous blog.
Plans moved forward, land was picked out, a name — Great Crossing High School — was chosen and the district seemed on track to open in the fall of 2017.
But in October of 2015, a citizen’s committee said the second high school didn’t have enough room to build adequate sporting facilities. And that is pretty much where the matter stayed until Hub started his job.
Hub said if he can’t convince the community that a second high school must be put in motion now, he will be back next year to broadcast the same argument. And, he said, by then the $48 million cost would rise to $52 million.
“I think with the case I’m making, that it’s pretty easy to see that we need a second high school,” he said. “This is not going to go away.” Great Crossing would be adjacent to Elkhorn Crossing School off Frankfort Pike.
The issue of opening a second school is still a touchy one in Scott County. Hub said. Even in his short tenure, he’s heard people complaining the building is too elaborate. “Some people think we are building the Taj Mahal of high schools,” he said, noting that some people also don’t realize that 200 to 300 new students have been coming into Scott County each year.
After Hub made his intentions clear at the Thursday board meeting, none of the five board members responded to his remarks, and all but one declined a later opportunity from the Herald-Leader to share their thoughts.
“I am fully behind what he has to offer for a second high school,” said board member Jennifer Holbert, who is nearing the end of her four-year term and weighing whether she will run again. She said the community doesn’t understand the stress and amount of maintenance it takes to keep up a high school operating above capacity. “I am ready to move forward. This community needs this.”
For his part, Hub said he is willing to answer any and all questions. “Call me,” he said, “I’ll come out to talk to your group. I’ll come out to talk to individuals.” The school board number is 502-863-3663.
Great Crossing: By The Numbers
- $48 million cost if construction begins soon
- $52 million estimated cost if delayed one year
- 750 students will attend
- One phase, not multiple phases, will open the school
- $75 average estimated increase in property tax to support construction
Source: Scott County Superintendent Kevin Hub