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March 14, 2018

A bill to slash retirement funds prompts teacher ‘walk-ins’ across Kentucky

ALL LAWRENCE CO. SCHOOLS PARTICIPATE IN WALK-IN


In a move that could evolve into a statewide strike, hundreds of teachers from dozens of schools across Kentucky participated in “walk-ins”  to protest a Senate bill that would slash teacher retirement benefits.

@ Fallsburg Elementary@ Fallsburg Elementary

The measure, Senate Bill 1, would cut retired teachers’ yearly cost-of-living raises from 1.5 percent to 1 percent — an attempt to address the state’s poor pension system. The decrease would remain in effect until the Kentucky Teacher’s Retirement System is 90 percent funded and, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, it is expected to result in “$65,019 in lost income for a teacher making an average salary who retires at 59 and lives until they’re 83.”

A Senate committee approved the bill Wednesday, as protesters shouted “Vote them out!,” according to LEX 18 News. The legislation now moves to the Senate floor.

Called the 120 effort taking the title from W.Va. teachers and state workers who used the all 55 slogan which includes all counties in W.Va.Called the 120 effort taking the title from W.Va. teachers and state workers who used the all 55 slogan which includes all counties in W.Va.

Walk-ins were staged all across Lawrence County today (Tuesday) and Dr. Rob Fletcher thanked everyone who wore red and participated in today's show of support for Kentucky teachers.

He has not responded to The Lazer's request for a comment.

Teachers said they were protesting the government messing with their pension. They handled their protest in a manner that would not disrupt the education of the students.

 

At nearly $40 billion in debt, Kentucky has one of the worst funded pensions in the country. Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has promised to resolve the crisis, but his often hostile rhetoric has been criticized by teachers, who feel targeted by his proposals. In an interview with WKYX radio on Thursday, Bevin said “the idea that people in retirement would rather get every cent they can get now with no guarantee the checks will keep coming for them or those still working is, frankly, selfish.”

“The reality is, I’m saving the pension system,” Bevin said Wednesday, according to the Herald Leader. “If they are upset about it, it’s either they are ill-informed or willfully blind … I think the vast majority of teachers are none of the above. They are very aware of the fact that they want the pension. Their leadership has their reason for fomenting things. God bless them. But I’m still going to save the pension whether they like it or not.”

Teachers have urged lawmakers to seek other sources of funding for the pension instead of cutting benefits.

Teachers were our early to begin their 120 protest against pension reforms and other cost cuts being considered by the state legislature.Teachers were our early to begin their 120 protest against pension reforms and other cost cuts being considered by the state legislature.

“[Gov. Bevin is] not listening to our teachers who went to the Capitol. He’s just not listening, so we need to make him listen,” science teacher Suzanne Sadler said, according to the Associated Press.

Angel Derefield and sister Christy CurnetteAngel Derefield and sister Christy Curnette

Meanwhile, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear sent a letter to legislators earlier this week arguing that SB 1 is unlawful because it violates the state’s inviolable contract with public employees, which protects the retirement benefits of public employees, like teachers, social workers, and law enforcement officers, from being reduced or altered. In a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday, Beshear said the measure would not hold up in court.

The Kentucky “walk-ins” are particularly significant given the recent victory for West Virginia teachers, who after going on strike for nine school days, reached a deal with state lawmakers Tuesday that grants a 5 percent pay raise to all state employees, including teachers. Similarly, teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Jersey City are considering a strike over pay raises.

ELHAM KHATAMI

Comments  

0 #7 Mrs.Bevin says 2018-03-18 01:20
The majority of y'all voted 4 him so don't start complaining now! Like turtleman Mitch its just Typical republican rope-a-dope tactics,so just deal with it!
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+2 #6 PeoplePower 2018-03-17 06:32
The pension fund had it been left alone in the first place would be healthy today, but no... Our state government couldn't keep their hands off of it while treating it like a savings & loan, and that's just wrong on so many levels! Don't back down guys/gals....no w is the time to show the force that resides within all of you. Stand your ground and never EVER compromise on what is rightfully yours that you have paid into. We are living win an era of demanding transperity from our leaders, and transperity equals accountability. This abuse of the retirement systems must STOP!
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+3 #5 Difference 2018-03-17 01:27
What a big difference between states. In the beginning the teachers unions and several politicians led the strike effort in WV. Then all 55 counties united. Come on KY grow a pair.
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-2 #4 why? 2018-03-16 22:59
Why direct all of the anger toward the Governor? He may have spoken harsh out of frustration but, have we all not been guilty of the same. The real problem is the past administration who stole your money not Mr. Bevin! What about Rocky who sat back and watched this take place. Anyone???
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+2 #3 Gee 2018-03-16 20:29
What Bevin fails to say during this is that the teachers and educators across KY are not eligible for social security benefits at age 62 or later. If they were this would be a little different. This governor is not a governor. He is a dictator. m sure the majority of the people cant wait for his term to be up and go back to where he came from. I know I will be. I wasted my vote on him.
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+9 #2 annie endicott 2018-03-16 13:42
Why don't Gov. Bevin take a 40% cut in his pay?.. and also pay for his health insurance... like all of us...? I'm an aide i get $11,040 a year. i paid for health insurance, and social security taxes, state taxes, and fed. taxes... and I also have unity bills. So if all of our states and Fed. reps. take a 40% and put the money back in the Teachers retirement... everything would be great.... thanks///
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+8 #1 Waste of time 2018-03-16 13:37
You guys are not getting theyre attention. The gov. is making a joke of you all. Shut down the whole states school system then they'll take notice. Did you teachers not watch the news in the last couple of weeks? Come on stop whining and go on STRIKE !!!
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