Dozens of Kentucky school districts canceled classes the day after the pension bill vote.
Hancock County Schools closed after a reported high number of staff absentees. The school district is one of several that closed across the state, including many in the Louisville and Lexington areas. Superintendent Kyle Estes says more than 40% of the teachers and staff called in sick last night.
“I wouldn’t say this is a protest. I mean, we’re not in school today, so we’re out serving our community,” says Trey Anderson, a teacher at Hancock Co. Middle School. He was one of these teachers out of school and out in the community, delivering food to needy students, and handing out Easter eggs.
“We decided to go out to our elementary schools and be sure we get those food backpacks passed out to students that need them over spring break and just not sit at home,” Anderson said.
“They’re concerned about the children of the commonwealth, and what’s about to come after them,” adds Estes.
Some educators claim the new pension bill could impact the ability to hire new teachers. Some of the bill’s opponents say it was rushed through without all questions being answered.
“We had a 291 page bill that affected the state’s largest group of employees, state workers and teachers, and that thing passed through the whole process in an eight hour period. That’s not right,” says State Rep. Dean Schamore, D-Hancock County.
But lawmakers who voted for it say it followed months of hearings — and hearing from teachers and retirees.
“We were listening to people, the bill that was passed was actually the things that people asked us for, and asked us to do. We really made a genuine effort to deliver a very good product,” says State Rep. Suzanne Miles, R-Daviess County.
While school is off for spring break next week, Estes says classes will resume after the break, if the teachers are back in class.
Earlier today, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said he planned to file a lawsuit stopping the senate bill from becoming law.
(This story was originally published March 30, 2018)