NKY schools close Monday to allow teachers, public to protest

Teachers rally inside KY Statehouse

NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Boone and Kenton County school districts are closed Monday as teachers and supporters traveled to Frankfort to voice concerns over funding for public education.

Boone County's superintendent said the move comes in response to the Kentucky Education Association's request to close schools.

The two school districts join Covington Schools as the latest to shut their doors to students Monday.

Educators across Kentucky hope the Frankfort demonstration sheds light on employees' pensions as well as proposed drastic cuts in Governor Matt Bevin's budget to local school districts.

The Kentucky Education Association estimates more than a thousand teachers, administrators, staff and even some students took part in the event.

"We think this is just one more dig at public education as a whole," President of the Kentucky Education Association Stephanie Winkler said.

MORE: Volunteers feeding NKY students needing lunch while schools close

School officials say the proposed cuts will devastate education in Kentucky.

Poe says that due to the pension bill, there will be an additional expense to local districts for future new employees. That expense would cost Boone County Schools millions over the years that the state saves, Poe says.

Poe says taxpayers already pay about 67 percent of the cost of educating a student.

The district says that the Commonwealth is required to fund at least 50 percent of student's education due to 1989 Rose v. Council for Better Education.

Poe says that if Bevin's proposed budget passes, Boone County Schools will take a 6.1 million hit which will include immediate layoffs of up to 110 teachers in Boone County.

"As it stands, if Governor Bevin's proposed budget passes, Boone County Schools will take a $6.1 million hit which will include immediate layoffs of up to 110 teachers, just in Boone County alone, if new revenue is not added.  This will negatively impact quality education in this state recognized, distinguished and innovative district," he said.

The district says that on Monday teachers will be advocating for their colleagues about the pension plan and to open new revenue streams for the budget.

Late Thursday night, the Kentucky House and Senate passed a bill to overhaul the state's public pension system and sent the legislation to the governor's desk. Teachers have voiced their opposition to the pension reform bill.

If signed, the bill could limit the number of sick days teachers can put towards their retirement and there would be no change to the cost of living adjustment staying at 1.5 percent.

Florence—The Boone County School District, in collaboration with the Boone County Education Association and the Boone County Board of Education, has decided to close schools on Monday, April 2, 2018.  Our response comes after yesterday's press conference with the Kentucky Education Association request for school closure. This will allow not just public school employees, but also the public and their families travel to Frankfort to advocate for Funding for Public Education.

Some say Kentucky could now lose new teachers to neighboring states.

"They think putting new teachers in a hybrid pension would be better instead of a divide benefit and it's not going to. We're already having trouble recruiting teachers. This is going to hurt us hugely," teacher Mary Birkenhauer said.

Kenton County Schools made their announcement on their twitter account.

The school district says they will be closed Monday so that they can advocate together as a team in Frankfort.

However, Kenton County says Turkey Foot Middle School and Simon Kenton High School still served lunch for students Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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