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Kentucky teachers rally in 'day of action' at state Capitol

Inspired by her special needs students, Leslie Busch joined her fellow teachers Friday at the state Capitol in Frankf...

Posted: Apr 14, 2018 6:25 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2018 6:25 PM

Inspired by her special needs students, Leslie Busch joined her fellow teachers Friday at the state Capitol in Frankfort in what the Kentucky Education Association called "a day of action."

If public education doesn't get additional funding, Busch said, more families will turn to charter and private schools, some of which won't accept students with special needs or will make them pay more to attend.

"That's unfair," Busch told CNN. "I am adamant about giving my students a fair chance to be a working member of society when they grow up."

Dozens of public school districts throughout Kentucky canceled Friday's classes to allow teachers and school personnel to be present at the Capitol rally, according to CNN affiliate WLKY.

The Kentucky Education Association strongly opposes a pension reform bill that Gov. Matt Bevin signed this week under which new hires will have to enter a hybrid cash-balance plan, as opposed to a traditional pension. It also limits new sick days teachers can put toward their retirement.

Members of the teachers union also were critical of Bevin's vetoes of budget and revenue bills, both of which the union said are crucial to funding public education.

On Friday night, legislators in the Republican-controlled Senate voted to override the vetoes.

"We acknowledge neither bill gives the citizens of the Commonwealth everything that our students, their parents, and our communities need." the Kentucky Education Association said on Facebook. "However, both bills provide much needed P-12 funding for the next biennium."

The governor, a Republican, tweeted his disapproval.

"We have time to do this correctly. The people of Kentucky deserve nothing less. Transparency makes for good policy AND good politics," he wrote. "I have met with House and Senate leaders all week to propose more responsible ways to pay for 100% of the requested education funding. Crickets."

The governor bemoaned the teacher protest, telling a group of reporters outside the Capitol that school closures left some children unprotected.

"I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them," the governor said, according to CNN affiliate WDRB. "I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn't have any money to take care of them. I'm offended by the idea that people so cavalierly and so flippantly disregarded what's truly best for children."

He also claimed that some children were "introduced to drugs."

Some teachers in Oklahoma want to keep fighting

Teachers in other states are also pushing for better pay and conditions, inspired in part by a successful strike last month in West Virginia.

In Oklahoma, the largest teachers union ended a nine-day walkout Thursday, but educators there vow to continue fighting.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said it was time for students to go back to school. Priest claimed the teachers had secured a "victory" with $479 million in additional school funding.

But the union ended the walkout with about the same amount of spending teachers were promised before it began. Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill shortly before the start of the walkout that raised spending on teacher and support staff pay by $405.5 million -- netting teachers and staff a $6,100 raise and a $1,250 raise, respectively. But the Oklahoma Education Association wanted teachers' raises to be $10,000 on average.

Another piece of legislation also raised education funding, providing more than $70 million over the next fiscal year for textbooks, state aid and flex health care benefits. The union also wanted those numbers to be higher.

Priest said the union had polled members throughout the walkout, and that by Thursday, 70% of respondents indicated they were unsure of continuing.

But some teachers said they were not surveyed before the walkout was called off.

"The OEA doesn't get to decide when I'm finished," said middle school choir teacher Renee Jerden. "I feel like it's a cop-out -- we have let them win by showing them they can behave however they want, and we'll eventually get tired and go home."

Arizona teachers offered 20% raise

In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey's announcement Thursday of a plan to give teachers 20% pay raises by 2020 was met with some skepticism.

The Arizona Educators United coalition had called for 20% pay raises, but it wasn't satisfied after Ducey's announcement.

"This has made more questions for us than answers," said Noah Karvelis, a teacher and an Arizona Educators United organizer. "We don't know the details. We don't know the funding sources."

Under Ducey's proposal, teachers' pay would increase 9% in the 2018 school year, then another 5% for the next two years, boosting the average salary to $58,130 from the current $48,372 by 2020.

Teachers in the state held "walk-ins" Wednesday before the start of classes, calling for higher salaries. They gathered outside schools, wearing red shirts and carrying signs before walking in to teach their first classes of the day.

The rallies were just the latest escalation in recent weeks for educators and their allies to voice their frustration. The group started by encouraging teachers to wear red to school on Wednesdays, using the hashtag #RedforED in social media posts.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
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