Ky. Teachers To Rally Again As Lawmakers Return For Final Legislative Days

Kentucky Capitol                       Matt Turner

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said today that he guarantees a child was sexually assaulted due to absent teachers in over 30 school districts while they rallied at the state Capitol in Frankfort.

Teachers from across the state rallied in Frankfort on Friday to encourage legislators to override the governor's vetoes of the tax reform bill and the budget.

Meanwhile, thousands of teachers rallied at the state Capitol on Friday, pushing for lawmakers to increase funding for education and protesting a law signed by Bevin that changes state worker pension benefits. He spoke of children ingesting poison or being physically assaulted because they were home and "a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them". "I don't agree with these comments & I find them repulsive".

Educators from across the state are converging on the state capital to protest possible budget cuts that would affect public schools and to express their disapproval with changes to their pensions. The Senate voted 20-18 and the House voted 57-40 Friday to override that veto.

Bevin vetoed the budget, which spends about $600 million more than his proposed spending plan. They lost the pensions battle, but lawmakers responded with a budget plan that included record-high classroom spending, and restored school transportation funding and health insurance for teachers who retired after 2010 but don't yet qualify for Medicare. West Virginia teachers went on strike for more than a week in March, eventually receiving a 5 percent pay increase, Politico reported.

"We have to generate more revenue as a state", Shively said. "We're not running out of steam anytime soon", said Boyd County High School teacher Melissa Conley, who is president of the Boyd Education Association.

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The New York Times reported that Oklahoma teachers ended a nine-day walkout on Thursday after winning $6,000 raises.

"And they serve to discourage anyone from wanting to be a teacher in Kentucky when the governor is bashing them on an nearly daily basis", McKim told WDRB News. But the Oklahoma Education Association wanted teachers' raises to be $10,000 on average.

Ahead of lawmakers' return to Frankfort on Friday, more than two dozen school districts across the state have already canceled classes in response to a surge of teachers requesting time off.

"My team and I have spent the past ten days with tax experts, as well as legislative leaders and staff, analyzing, scoring and attempting to correct House Bill 366, the revenue bill that Governor Bevin vetoed", state budget director John Chilton said in a statement that Bevin released on Twitter. She said the protest had moved on beyond pensions to the stagnant funding for public education.

Both chambers of the legislature need to override the governor's vetoes or pass new budget and tax bills in order to avoid Bevin calling a special legislative session in the coming months. "We don't know the details". Kentucky has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the country, with the state at least $41 billion short of what it needs to pay retirement benefits over the next 30 years.

In Fayette County, public schools Superintendent Manny Caulk invited everyone to go with him to Kentucky's Capitol Friday to fight for issues important to Lexington schools.

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