Some local school districts are sending delegates to Frankfort Friday to protest the pension bill and proposed cuts to education included in the budget passed by the General Assembly.
The budget kept funding for public school transportation, raised the SEEK funding, but funding for textbooks or professional development were not included in the bill.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, however, vetoed the bill on Monday. In his speech, he said the budget was not properly balanced. He also said the budget would put the burden of paying for the retirement system on people who “are not in the system.” He also said the pension bill, House Bill 151, which was signed, was a start to the growing pension problems in the state, but did not solve the problem.
“The pension bill that was passed does not solve the problem. It does not come close to solving the problem,” he said. “It will only raise $300 million over 20 years if we have a $60 billion problem. That’s one half of one percent, which means 99.5 percent of the problem is going to be paid for and solved by people who are not in the system. So, the job creators and taxpayers in Kentucky, who do not get a pension, is going to be paid for by those people, who will get nothing from it. Have we really solved the problem? No, we just pushed it down the road.”
State Rep. John Sims said House and Senate members have until Saturday at midnight to overturn the veto on the budget.
Mason County Superintendent Rick Ross said he is not closing Mason County Schools on Friday, but he does have a delegation of teachers planning to protest in Frankfort.
“We have several teachers planning to go to Frankfort Friday, but we have no intentions of closing school,” he said. “The teachers are going to have their voice heard and we support them. We’ll find substitutes to cover.”
Bracken County and Robertson County School Superintendents Jeff Aulick and Sanford Holbrook said the same about their teachers.
“I and others will cover classes for our teachers so some of them can go to Frankfort to have their voices heard,” Aulick said. “I plan to go up Friday evening and Saturday to show my support.”
“I fully support what my teachers are doing,” Holbrook said. “We have several going on Friday, because they want to voice their concerns on these bills. We will find substitutes to cover classes, but we’re not planning to cancel.”
Augusta Independent School District is on spring break this week.
Fleming County Superintendent Brian Creasman said he supports his teachers, but feels they can make the best impact in the classroom.
“While I don’t feel like it’s best to send a delegation to Frankfort, I fully support teachers, staff, students and public education,” he said in a letter to teachers. “That has never and will never waiver. Right now, I feel our students need all of us here as we have to model our full commitment to our students. The next several weeks are busy, and our students need our full support. Sometimes going against the current is hard, but when we remain focused on what is important, everything seems to work out for the best. All of you are rock stars and indeed a faculty and staff of distinction!”