Hancock Co. students talk to lawmakers about matching nickel tax funds

Local News

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) A group of Hancock County students return from Frankfort, after getting first hand experience on how state government works.

They testified to a house committee on a proposal for the state to match funds from a nickel tax passed last year. The money will build a new middle school.

Instead of roaming the halls at Hancock County High School on Wednesday, they roamed the halls in Frankfort.

Students speaking to House committee for state to match Nickel Tax funds for new school (Photo courtesy of Hancock Co. High School)

“It didn’t hit me until like five minutes before I was about to speak, I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to be up there,'” recalled Lauren Kellems, describing the minutes before she and two other students spoke to the House Budget Review Committee, asking them for matching state funds to the nickel tax passed last year to build the new middle school, the school those students used to attend.

“It’s always good to ask to receive to have it equalized so you can get the money to build the new school,” said Danielle Ford, who went to Hancock Co. Middle School.

The board approved the tax last Fall, but state law doesn’t require the state to match those funds. They told lawmakers why the new school, and state help are both needed.

“We had pictures, we wrote our own testimonies,” said Ford, describing how their testimony went.

“We brought mold samples. I talked about the problems with the school and that it’s unsafe,” adds Ashlyn Madden, who also spoke at Wednesday’s hearing.

The students say if approved, it could affect other Kentucky counties that passed nickel taxes for their new schools. While they only testified for one day, they know they’ll have to keep their effort going if they want it passed.

“We just make sure to keep informing people what’s happening so everyone knows, just tell everyone how much we need it, how much it’s affecting people, how dangerous the school is now, and we can’t wait any longer. It needs to happen,” said Kellems.

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(This story was originally published on February 13, 2020)

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