South Central Kentucky educators rally at State Capitol

Published: Apr. 13, 2018 at 9:40 PM CDT
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Thousands of teachers took to the Kentucky State Capitol Friday for the second to last day of the current legislative session.

In Frankfort, educators and students from across the commonwealth came together in solidarity in support of public education.

"It's for all people, it's for all people, it's for all colors, it's for all types of students, all types of learners, said Stacy Garden of the Warren County Education Association. "There's so much stuff that teachers provide in public school that is just a gift, and it's something that we have a right to and the kids have a right to."

The hope today for many teachers, was to express how important public education was to them, and see bills that were previously vetoed by Governor Matt Bevin overridden, including the tax/revenue bill and budget bill.

"Finally after years of no new revenue coming to this state, they did generate some new revenue, said Kelley Ross, a teacher at Barren County High School.

Ross says the wanted to see the vetoes overridden because there were things she liked like increased SEEK funding, and transportation funding, although noting it's not perfect.

"There are some good things there, but we also lost things," she added. "We have no professional development funding, no textbook funding, things that are also very much needed. It's kind of a double edged sword. We needed funding."

House Bill 366, which is the previously vetoed bill pertaining to revenue, was passed through the general assembly again today, and that is exactly what some teachers wanted, as it prmomised more than initially proposed.

House Bill 366, along with House Bill 200, the budget bill, were both passed by both the House and Senate Friday, overriding Gov Bevin's vetoes of the bills.

Some lawmakers did not want to override the vetoes, but perhaps for different reasons than Bevin, who suggested it barely makes a dent in the deficit. Some say the bill still isn't good enough for educators, while some educators say it's better than nothing.

"I'm not sure I fully personally agree with all the ways they did that," said Kelley Ross, "but again it's a start and it's better than what we started with."

Ross didn't want to see a special session called after the current session ended because of the uncertainty it would hold, putting the ball back in Bevin's court, because she had already seen what he wanted to do, and thought the current bill would include more funding for education.