Friday, 20 April, 2018

Kentucky teachers claim victory as budget vetoes rejected

Teachers have staged numerous demonstrations in Frankfort during this session. They filled the capitol building Monday April 2 Bevin: Teachers left children vulnerable
Lillian Steele | 14 April, 2018, 20:13

Bevin said "for a fact. hundreds of thousands" of children were left home alone because schools were closed in 39 districts across the state to allow teachers and administrators to protest funding cuts.

When the second to last day was done, House and Senate members had blocked Bevin's vetoes on the budget, a tax bill and legislation to stretch pension payments for municipalities out over time. The bill authorizes the state to spend $4,000 for every public school student, the highest level in state history.

The Republican-controlled House voted 57-40 to override the GOP governor's veto of House Bill 366. The bill will create a flat tax and establish or raise taxes on goods and services.

The country budget that is working consists of listing new spending for instruction, fueled and also a 6 per cent sales tax on certain solutions, for example auto and home fixes. But Bevin vetoed both the budget and the money in it, calling the bills "sloppy" and "non-transparent".

Matt Bevin (R) suggested Friday that children were physically harmed because they were at home during the statewide teacher strikes, when teachers gathered at the capitol to protest school funding.

Teachers rallying at the Capitol said they were still frustrated by lawmakers' passage and Bevin's signature of a bill that tweaks benefits to current state workers and moves future educators out of the conventional pension system.

House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne, who has criticized Bevin's comments about teachers in the past, remained silent on the governor's comments. "They've done nothing to improve that process", said Carpenter. The rally took on a festival-like atmosphere as some teachers sat in lawn chairs or sprawled out on blankets.

Republicans - with an eye toward the gallery filled with red-clad teachers - said Democrats were hypocritical because they champion education while voting against the revenue bill and budget which funds increases to education.

Lawmakers overturned vetoes on a revenue and tax measure that raises $487 million in new revenues to fund a budget that increases funding for public schools and restores funding for school bus transportation. 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. And as surely as we're having this conversation, children were harmed, some physically, some sexually, some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone.

Lawmakers' votes on Friday come with a price.

Stephanie Ikanovic was one of the teachers at the rally.

Bevin said, that in some "communities", his fellow Kentuckians knew children would be home alone and "took advantage of it".

A news release from the Kentucky State Police says crowd size inside the Capitol and the Annex building "may be limited" for safety reasons. Other districts sent delegations but kept classes open. The demonstrations were inspired by West Virginia teachers, whose nine-day walkout after many years without raises led to a 5 percent pay hike.

At least 40 teachers are running for Kentucky legislative seats this year, a lot of them Democrats.

Kentucky's unrest comes as teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona have protested low funding and teacher pay.

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