Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Kentucky teachers rally in 'day of action' at state Capitol

Kentucky teachers rally in 'day of action' at state Capitol

Gov. Matt Bevin, asked Friday about teachers leaving the classrooms to attend a protest rally in Frankfort, said, "I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them".

Several schools in northern Kentucky are closed Friday as teachers rally in Frankfort.

They did it with nearly no help from Democrats while thousands of teachers once again descended upon the capitol to call for more money for education and protest changes to their pension system.

"You know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone?"

"I and others will cover classes for our teachers so some of them can go to Frankfort to have their voices heard", Aulick said.

Thousands of Kentucky teachers protest at the State Capitol in Frankfurt, Kentucky, on April 13, 2018, after the Governor signed a law to dismantle state employees' pension.

In the Senate Friday, responding to Bevin's comments, Democratic Leader Ray Jones of Pikeville warned Republican senators against springing any more surprise tax bills on the state.

Kentucky's two-year operating budget includes record new spending for public education, fueled by a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a 6 percent sales tax on some services including home and auto fix.

He also wondered how the school cancellations, due to teachers coming to Frankfort for a protest, will disrupt the plans of students' families for such things as graduations and vacations. The demonstrations were inspired by West Virginia teachers, whose nine-day walkout after many years without raises led to a 5 percent pay increase.

During debate on tax reforms, opponents argued budget cuts might be necessary as soon as this fall, if the revenue bill doesn't generate sufficient tax dollars.

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The governor stepped up his criticism of the state's largest teacher organization, the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), describing their leaders as "absolute frauds".

The veto puts Republican lawmakers in a tough position, asking them to vote a second time on a tax increase in an election year.

If lawmakers let the vetoes stand, Bevin could call them back into special session to pass a budget.

The Kentucky House has overridden Gov. Matt Bevin's veto of a two-year state spending plan that increases education funding with the help of a $480 million tax increase.

In his statement, Chilton also said it's his understanding the House and Senate are working on new versions of the budget and tax bills they passed last week, although "we are not being told the details".

Kentucky isn't the only state where politicians are facing off against teachers. They are instead focused on overall funding. "They've done nothing to improve that process", said Carpenter.

House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne, who has criticized Bevin's comments about teachers in the past, remained silent on the governor's comments.

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. People who oppose the plan are concerned it will discourage younger people from becoming teachers, according to the Washington Post.

Changes already were made to the teacher pension system.

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