At least one Kentucky school district has already canceled school so that teachers and other schools employees can rally in Frankfort on Friday, as the General Assembly returns for its last two days in session.
Trimble County Public Schools announced the closing Monday night, saying that officials hoped that making the decision early would give families time to make childcare arrangements and other plans.
With a controversial pension reform bill now signed into law and Gov. Matt Bevin’s decision Monday to veto the legislature’s state budget and a tax overhaul bill to generate revenue for it, public educators are again gearing up to make their voices heard in the state Capitol.
Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk has not addressed whether schools will be closed on Friday, though he said Monday that he planned to be in Frankfort and urged others to do the same.
“Where do we go from here? I can tell you where I am going and hopefully you will go with me,” Caulk said. “We’re going to Frankfort on Friday to make our voices heard and to insist the fight for justice, the fight for equity still continues. That’s a fight not only about our educators, it’s about our children and families.”
Scott County Schools Superintendent Kevin Hub told WKYT-TV that he would decide Wednesday whether schools there would be closed Friday.
The Jefferson County Teachers Association took to Facebook on Tuesday and urged its members to call their legislators, asking them to override the governor’s vetoes on the budget and tax reform legislation.
“Neither bill is perfect, but together they add hundreds of millions of dollars to public education, allowing pensions to be fully funded, education cuts to be restored, and health insurance to be funded. So having both is essential at this point,” the association said on Facebook.
They said they feared that the governor might not call a special session to handle the budget, “making him the CEO of the Commonwealth, spending only on what he deems appropriate without any input by the elected representatives of the citizens.”
In a Facebook post Monday evening, the association asked its members to “not to engage in any collective actions tomorrow that would cause schools to close.”
“The public supports teachers and the Governor would like nothing better than to be able to paint teachers as the villains for repeatedly closing school and interfering with students’ learning. Please do not play into this negative narrative,” the group said.
Meanwhile, the advocacy group Pike County Strong has asked teachers to call in sick Thursday night so that schools will close on Friday.
On April 2, every school district in the state was closed, either because of spring break or so that educators could attend a massive rally in Frankfort in protest of a bill that made changes to the state’s cash-strapped public pension systems.