Anticipated faceoff by KY teachers and legislators brings war of words
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky's teachers want to be heard in Frankfort on Friday, and hundreds of them will be in the capital as the list of districts closing continues to grow.
As those teachers plan to rally, lawmakers are gearing up for it.
Some 32 districts had called off school by Thursday afternoon, including the district where Gov. Matt Bevin calls home -- Anchorage Independent Schools.
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Bevin took to the radio airwaves from Louisville to Campbellsville on Thursday to denounce teacher protests in anticipation of the Friday 13 face-off in Frankfort.
On the Leland Conway radio show, the governor said of the Kentucky Education Association (KEA): "The KEA is unleashing mayhem for the sake of creating mayhem and I think they've overplayed their hand."
Later in Frankfort, Bevin said of the teacher sick calls: "It's a shame the flu is running around."
While teachers said they'll be fighting for education funding, and future teachers in Kentucky, Bevin said the people who will be hurt by the sick calls are single moms who can't afford to stay home from work.
Meanwhile, teachers rallying in Louisville had their own take Thursday.
"I feel like more and more public schools, and especially teachers, are under attack -- especially with the words our governor has been using, and sort of the vilification of us in the public," Laura Rhea, a Male High School government teacher, told us. "That's just not right."
Friday's rally will focus on the budget bill vetoed by Gov. Bevin. Teacher are concerned because legislators included funding for public schools in the bill they passed. It's funding that the governor wants to cut.
Bevin calls the budget and tax plan "fiscally irresponsible."
Meanwhile, Attorney General Andy Beshear, the KEA and the Fraternal Order of Police are suing to block the pension bill, calling it unconstitutional.
"We know this pension bill will cause mass retirement of teachers, law enforcement and others," Beshear said of the suit.
Bevin said Beshear will "lose in court."
"We are correct in what's being done, the attorney general is just trying to get you all to cover him," he added.
Some lawmakers took to social media.
Republican Sen. Julie Raque Adams took to Twitter saying: "I want to be crystal clear, I'm listening to our teachers voices - I voted no on the pension bill."
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Rep. Phil Moffett, another Jefferson County Republican, posted on Facebook that he is not a fan of the name calling, saying teachers and unions "called us everything from scabs to worthless."
He added: "It is truly the Silly Season." Moffett wants lawmakers to stand with the governor's veto, then draft a new tax plan over the next month, tour the state to get input, and then call a special session to pass it.
Near the end of his post he said he is "less concerned with the general budget bill."
Gov. Bevin said anything could happen in the final two days of the session and as always, some people will like it more than others.
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