Kentucky legislature overrides governor's vetoes on school spending bills

Casey Dawson
April 14, 2018

Teachers from across the state are expected to rally in Frankfort Friday to protest the budget cuts being made by the state legislature. The rally took on a festival-like atmosphere as some teachers sat in lawn chairs or sprawled out on blankets. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's hit "Teach Your Children" bellowed from loud speakers before speeches began.

Stephanie Ikanovic, who has been a teacher for 21 years, said earlier in the day she did not want to be out of her classroom, but said she felt compelled to come to Frankfort to advocate for her students.

Also on Friday, the House and Senate vetoed a two-year state spending plan that increases education funding with the help of a $480 million tax increase.

This comes after Gov. Matt Bevin offered sharp criticism of the tax law, saying it was a "sloppy, non-transparent bill" before its passage. "I guarantee you somewhere today a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent doesn't have any money to take care of them", Gov. Bevin said.

By asking them to vote for another period to get the tax increase in a election 25, the veto put law makers at a position. "So, it truly is something we need to run our public schools, is our Family Resource and Youth Service Centers". They said that the tax growth disproportionately hurts the poor when.

Although the teachers succeeded in protecting pensions for current workers and pressuring legislators into overriding Bevin's veto, Kentucky teachers could still face problems in the future.

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The vote was 66 to 28 in the House with only four Democrats joining 62 Republicans and 26-12 in the Senate. The final vote followed a 57-40 House vote in favor of the override. In a dramatic moment, Senate President Robert Stivers cast the decisive vote for the override. He also said it would not raise enough cash to pay for the shelling out. Bevin asked for lawmakers to pass that provision in a separate bill either today or tomorrow. Bevin blamed Hoover and the sexual harassment controversy for the failure to call a special session. He said the only reason he did not call one past year was because Hoover was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a member of his staff, which kept the House tied up in a leadership dispute. Tuesday, he agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and a public reprimand from the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Line says teachers were not paid for Friday, and they will make up the day, by adding it to the end school year.

In Arizona, after weeks of teacher protests and walkout threats across the state, Governor Doug Ducey promised a net 20 percent raise by 2020.

In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts Thursday, shifting their focus to electing pro-education candidates in November. Teachers across the commonwealth continued their protest for more education funding and changes to the state pension system.

Friday's teacher rally did result in the closure of at least 30 Kentucky school districts, including Erlanger-Elsemere Schools and Bellevue Independent Schools. They are instead focused on overall funding. The state has enough money to operate until June 30.

The votes exposed again the rift between Bevin and former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, and perhaps a growing rift with other Republican lawmakers. Opponents worry this will discourage young people from becoming teachers.

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