Teachers

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit to block subpoenas issued by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration as part of an investigation into teacher sickouts.

The complaint Beshear filed Monday seeks a temporary injunction to prevent school districts from having to submit records to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet that might identify teachers who participated in recent sickouts at the statehouse. Labor Cabinet Secretary David Dickerson has said it is his office’s duty to investigate whether school employees broke a state law prohibiting public employees from striking. The Labor Cabinet could punish any violation of that law with a fine of up to $1,000. 

On the last day that Kentucky lawmakers could file bills, a freshman Republican filed a bill to move future Kentucky teachers into a new pension system.

The legislation is the latest attempt to address the low funding levels of Kentucky’s retirement systems for public workers by altering benefits.

Rep. Scott Lewis, a Republican from Hartford and sponsor of the bill, says the new proposal would still provide teachers with “defined benefit” pensions that guarantee monthly payments upon retirement, but it wouldn’t be as generous as what current teachers get.

After Kentucky lawmakers made changes to pension benefits for state workers earlier this year, some candidates are hoping to ride a wave of anger from teachers and other public workers into the statehouse.

There are at least 51 current and former educators running for seats in the legislature as all 100 districts in the state House of Representatives and half in the state Senate are up for re-election this year.

Joy Gray is a retired teacher from Owensboro who’s running as a Democrat against Republican Rep. Suzanne Miles.

An education board in Kentucky has voted to eliminate a requirement that public school teachers earn a Master’s degree to continue in the profession. 

The Education Professional Standards Board voted on Monday to approve a waiver that eliminates the mandate for teachers to move to Rank II.  The panel said the move will provide school districts with greater flexibility in recruiting and retaining educators. 

Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton says when he initially learned of the decision, he was worried the state was lowering standards for teachers.

Teachers in Kentucky flexed their newfound political clout in primary elections Tuesday after a series of massive protests at the state Capitol earlier this year.

High school math teacher Travis Brenda ousted one of the Kentucky legislature's top Republican leaders in a primary election. Brenda ran a campaign attacking state Rep. Jonathan Shell for his role in writing bills that weakened retirement benefits for state workers and overhauled Kentucky's tax code.

kentucky state capitol building
Peter Fitzgerald / Wikimedia

This year’s Kentucky General Assembly was book-ended by turmoil, but over the course of nearly four months the Republican-led legislature was still able to wrangle the votes to approve politically volatile policies like changing pension benefits for public workers and overhauling Kentucky’s tax code amid intense protests from public workers, especially teachers.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is apologizing for saying a teachers' strike left hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to sexual assault and drug use.

On Friday, Bevin told reporters, "I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today, a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Update, Monday, April 16: Bevin has now apologized for his remarks

As one of its final acts of this year’s legislative session, the Republican-led Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution formally condemning Gov. Matt Bevin for saying that teachers neglected students by attending protests in Frankfort on Friday, leading to child abuse.

kentucky teacher protest
Ryland Barton

Teachers from across Kentucky are expected to converge on the state Capitol again Friday as lawmakers return to Frankfort for the final two days of this year’s legislative session.

The Kentucky Education Association — the statewide teachers union — has called for lawmakers to override Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes of the two-year state budget and revenue bills, which set aside more funding for public education than Bevin’s proposed budget did.

Ryland Barton / WFPL

Gov. Matt Bevin says it would be “irresponsible” for teachers in Kentucky to strike a week after thousands of educators descended on Frankfort to protest pension and education cuts.

Though state law doesn’t allow teachers to strike in Kentucky, the Jefferson County Teachers Association has called for educators to take a personal day on Friday to protest Bevin’s vetoes to the budget and tax reform bills passed by the legislature.

Ryland Barton / WFPL

After weeks of saying that a proposal to fix retirement benefits for state workers was likely dead, on Thursday Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature quickly passed a bill overhauling the state’s pension systems. The legislation, which does little to address the state’s pension debt, was attached to an unrelated bill dealing with governance of sewage districts.