City, county step in to help Jackson Independent School District

JACKSON, Ky. (WYMT) - An independent school in Breathitt County struggling to stay open due to financial problems may have a solution. Some government agencies have agreed to step in to save the Jackson City School.

City officials say the financial situation at the Jackson Independent School District was serious, and something had to be done.

"You're talking about the loss of jobs. You're talking about students who, this is the only school they've ever known," said Jackson mayor Rose Wolfe.

Facing diminished sources of revenue, the district had to take out a loan in November of $230,000.

"We had paid several dollars of that down," said superintendent Tim Spencer. "The state came in and did an assessment of our school district and we were told we needed to raise $244,000 by the end of this fiscal year."

Had the school district not been able to meet its financial obligations, officials were concerned the school would have to close its doors. Now thanks to the city and county governments, that will not be happening.

The City of Jackson, the Breathitt County Fiscal Court and the Kentucky Department of Local Government worked out a deal in which the city and county would provide the district with $200,000 in coal severance money. The funds can only be used for debt service.

"We're just elated," said Spencer. "We announced it to our student body this morning and there was a big cheer going through the building."

Between the coal severance funds and other fund raising efforts, the district will meet the May deadline. With this latest fiscal crisis behind them, the superintendent says Jackson City Schools can now focus on their main goal, teaching their kids.

The superintendent says the district is out of the woods for the short term, but cautions administrators will need to keep looking for more sources of revenue to avoid a repeat of this financial emergency.

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