Kentucky schools close as teachers rally at state Capitol
by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/13/18, 10:50 am
Schools across Kentucky closed Friday as thousands of teachers converged on the state Capitol in Frankfort for what has become an increasingly common lobbying effort. Educators are demanding higher pay or more classroom funding in several Republican-controlled states. In Kentucky, teachers urged legislators to override Gov. Matt Bevin’s veto of a $480 million tax increase that would fund record-high classroom funding. Analysts expect the vote will be close. Legislators rejected calls earlier in the session to reverse changes to the state’s pension fund, which faces a $41 billion shortfall over the next 30 years. Bevin blasted teacher unions for fighting efforts to make the system solvent. This year’s teacher walkouts started in West Virginia, where educators rallied at their state Capitol for nine days and persuaded lawmakers to give them a 5 percent raise. Oklahoma teachers ended their walkout just a day shy of West Virginia’s record after Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill providing millions in new education funding. In Arizona, where teachers staged a “walk-in” earlier this week but hadn’t resorted to a strike, Gov. Doug Ducey promised a net 20 percent raise by 2020.
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Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.