Ky. Teachers Returning To Frankfort To Rally For Education

Ky. Teachers Returning To Frankfort To Rally For Education

Thousands of teachers rallied Friday at the Kentucky Capitol, urging lawmakers to override Bevin's vetoes.

Erlanger-Elsmere and Gallatin County school districts announced ahead of time Thursday that they are closing so teachers can head to Frankfort and protest pension reform.

In Danville, hundreds of educators and supporters of teachers from Boyle County, Mercer County, Danville Independent and the Kentucky School for the Deaf rallied with signs, cheers and plenty of honks from passing cars.

Teachers are protesting pension cuts and encouraging lawmakers to override Gov. Bevin's veto of the state budget. The rally took on a festival-like atmosphere as some teachers sat in lawn chairs or sprawled out on blankets.

"My team and I have spent the past 10 days with tax experts, as well as legislative leaders and staff, analyzing, scoring and attempting to correct House Bill 366, the revenue bill that Gov. Bevin vetoed", State Budget Director John Chilton said in a statement released by Bevin on Twitter.

In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts on Thursday, shifting their focus to electing pro-education candidates in November. They wanted the vetoes to stand, forcing the governor to call a special session of the state legislature to pass a new budget. In a dramatic moment, Senate President Robert Stivers cast the decisive vote for the override.

Fayette County Public Schools - the second-largest district - has also canceled classes.

"And they always said, "for us" - even the kids understand that we're not here for teachers, we're here for them", she said.

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.

The statewide teachers union has called for lawmakers to override Gov. Matt Bevin's vetoes of the two-year state budget and revenue bills, which set aside more funding for public education than Bevin's proposed budget did.

The Kentucky Education Association sharply criticized Bevin's vetoes in calling for Friday's "day of action".

The tax reform bill would make numerous changes in Kentucky's tax code.

Bevin further angered teachers by signing legislation altering pensions for teachers and other state employees.

Current benefits for teachers will go untouched, but there will be a new pension plan for incoming ones. They claim the diminished benefits for future teachers will discourage others from choosing teaching as a career.

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