Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Kentucky Teachers Prepare Massive Protest

Kentucky Teachers Prepare Massive Protest

As the House of Representatives took to the floor to debate a controversial tax overhaul that generates revenue in an effort to fund education and pension payments, Gov. Bevin threatened to call them back to Frankfort in a special session if the bills were not fiscally responsible.

Teachers from across Kentucky are expected to converge on the state Capitol again Friday as lawmakers return to Frankfort for the final two days of this year's legislative session. He added that he guaranteed a child was "physically assaulted or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them".

The unrest comes amid teacher protests in Oklahoma and Arizona over low funding and teacher pay. Asked if they would include major changes to the budget, Osborne said: "I don't know".

The governor's response to the striking teachers sparked outcry and disbelief from state lawmakers and educators.

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. He said they would not raise enough money to cover the new spending.

Lawmakers approved a $480 million tax increase to pay for it, including a 6 percent sales tax on services such as auto and home repairs, and higher income taxes for some individuals and businesses.

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Teachers rallied at the Kentucky Statehouse on Monday, April 2.

The Republican-led Kentucky legislature has rebuffed Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's vetoes of the two-year state budget and revenue bills, prompting cheers from teachers assembled in the State Capitol Rotunda.

Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler told The Louisville Courier-Journal that he was "appalled" by Bevin's remarks.

In Oklahoma, the largest teachers union ended a nine-day walkout Thursday, but educators there vow to continue fighting.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin noticed the teachers, too.

Bevin said "for a fact. hundreds of thousands" of children were left home alone because schools were closed in 39 districts across the state to allow teachers and administrators to protest funding cuts.

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A survey done in 2011 and summarized in 2013 found that two percent of 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds who lived with their mother were left alone some of the time they weren't in school; that proportion increased to almost 30 percent of 14-year-olds.

John Chilton, Bevin's budget director, said he understands lawmakers have new bills to raise revenue and govern spending and could introduce them soon.

Teachers from every Northeast Kentucky district made the trip, although no area districts closed for the day. The Tea Party Republican Friday evening blasted teachers statewide for going to the capitol to protest a lack of classroom and pension funding. The budget passed the House with a vote of 66-27. They are instead focused on overall funding. "We knew it was going to get worse before it gets better".

The pension bill that Bevin signed will mostly affect future workers, especially teachers, who will no longer receive conventional pension plans. Opponents worry this will discourage young people from becoming teachers.

The pension changes have already drawn a court challenge.

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