ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) – County school districts throughout eastern and northeastern Kentucky are cancelling classes Wednesday so teachers can rally at the state Capitol to protect their pensions and state education funding.
The county school districts in Pike, Lawrence, Martin, Greenup and Carter counties will be closed Wednesday, along with the Ashland Independent School District in Boyd County and Russell and Raceland-Worthington districts in Greenup County.
Between 400 and 500 Pike County public school employees will attend the rally Wednesday, according to Patricia Lea Collins, the Head Start and preschool director for Pike County Schools who helped organize the rally.
The educators will rally at the Capitol steps in the morning and press lawmakers the rest of the day.
A preliminary head count in Ashland suggests at least 100 teachers and support workers will be attending, and by Wednesday the number is likely to be considerably higher, Angie Heyerly, president of the Ashland Education Association, the district’s t of the Kentucky Education Association, told the Ashland Daily Independent.
Fairview, the smallest district in northeastern Kentucky, will close because so many teachers are going to Frankfort, said acting superintendent Phil Eason.
Top administrators in eastern Kentucky and northeastern Kentucky are generally supportive, teacher say.
In Lawrence County, Superintendent Robbie Fletcher posted on Twitter that “this is a day that has been selected for staff members in our region to have a voice in Frankfort on educational issues that we face.”
The Senate’s pension bill returned to committee, from which it may not emerge again this session, and the teachers are concerned with education funding.
The Wednesday rally of eastern Kentucky educators will be followed by similar events with teachers and support workers from other parts of the state. Their goal is to keep the state budget, particularly education funding and public pensions, squarely in the public eye.