JCPS prepares online instruction with expectation of continued school closures Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

The district is asking for help so its students can keep learning online, calling on the city and internet providers to step up and help more students gain access to Wi-Fi.

Metro Council Votes To Shift Funds From Pension Payments To COVID-19 Relief Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

Despite concerns and dissent from some members, the Louisville Metro Council voted Thursday night to shift $2.7 million previously earmarked for pension payments to make funds available for COVID-19 relief.

Twenty-three members voted yes, two voted no and one — Brent Ackerson (D-26) — voted present.

Ackerson said he opposed the legislation because there is now federal aid on the way and because the city continues to face fiscal problems.

Louisville is facing a rising pension bill that forced lawmakers to cut more than $25 million from this year’s budget. Some of those cuts hit services that helped the city’s most vulnerable residents.

Last year, a pension expert said using surplus funds — such as the ones shifted in this vote — was a smart way to offset the city’s pension bill. City officials project Louisville will have to pay an additional $41 million toward pensions over the next three years.

The outlook for meeting this fiscal year’s pension bill was positive, according to an assessment by the city’s chief financial officer Daniel Frockt earlier this year. But as Ackerson pointed out, the council has not yet had a chance to hear from Frockt about how the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus will affect Louisville’s budget future.

“How much money are we losing from this budget? How far behind are we going to be?” he said. “We’re not the federal government, we can’t just go and borrow an extra billion dollars. We’ve got to balance our budget.”

But the majority of council members came together to pass the ordinance, which would allow Metro’s Office of Resilience & Community Services to reimburse external agency partners that provide food and housing assistance to those affected by coronavirus.

David Yates (D-25) was a sponsor of the ordinance, along with 21 others.

“What gave me confidence is that we are going to piecemeal this out in small increments, so we can decide where it goes and how much to who,” he said. “But it’s only going to be done if necessary.”

He clarified that passage of the ordinance did not mean council would be spending the money, it meant the body would be making it available.

The ordinance states that the money is intended to be used “as a fund of last resort,” to be accessed when other funding sources are insufficient. The money will be distributed as reimbursements evaluated on a weekly basis by a three-person panel comprised of a representative of the mayor, Metro Council president David James (D-6) or someone he designates, and a representative from Metro United Way.

The legislation was fast-tracked this week because it was an emergency ordinance, meaning it was not heard in committee.

Separately, Mayor Greg Fischer on Wednesday announced a community fund through which households could get $1,000 payments to relieve coronavirus-caused hardship. The One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund had raised $3.6 million from donors and will also be used to give grants to community organizations helping those affected.

Voter photo ID bill passes Kentucky legislature, heads to Gov. Beshear’s desk Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

The bill requiring voters to present photo identification in order to vote now heads to Gov. Beshear's desk for his signature or veto.

       

Coronavirus outbreak hurts restaurants — but pizza chains seeing demand spike Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

Papa John's Pizza saw its shares rise a whopping 38% Thursday, and rival Domino’s said it needs 10,000 workers to meet rising demand.

New Albany-Floyd County Schools move to eLearing, offering meals to students amid COVID-19 outbreak Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

After Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced public school will be closed until at least May 1, school districts and parents are working on their next steps.

Kentucky lawmakers pass bill to ease burden on schools amid coronavirus closures Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

All Kentucky school districts now have set plans to continue lessons at home, if needed.

       

Metro Council signs off on $2.7M for housing and food assistance in COVID-19 response Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

The money is intended to flow toward emergency housing and food assistance.

       

Louisville mayor unveils ‘Lift Up Lou’ initiative to keep community connected during COVID-19 outbreak Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

"Lift Up Lou will be Louisville’s way to keep our bodies healthy, our minds fed, and our connections strong during this challenging time," Fischer said in a news release.

Oldham County woman who tested positive for COVID-19 being treated at Baptist Health La Grange, health officials say Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

The woman is being treated in isolation at Baptist Health La Grange, according to a hospital spokesperson.

JCPS board clears way for distance learning ahead of potentially longer school closures Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

District officials said they will only consider using distance learning if school closures continue past spring break.

       

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