FRANKFORT, Kentucky. – Kentucky's largest public school districts are closed due to widespread absence on Friday, as teachers were angered by the adoption of a pension reform. Students in Louisville and Lexington are concerned because at least eight school districts of Kentucky had to close schools because of the absence of employees.
The Kentucky Education Association calls it a "shameful" bill that was quickly and narrowly approved by the Republican-led legislature without a hearing or chance to comment on the final version.
Republican legislators have passed a pension overhaul that preserves benefits for most workers and does little in the short term to address the massive debts of the state. Legislators passed the bill in response to one of the country's worst-funded public pension systems and despite a powerful teachers' union that had vowed political retaliation.
The Republicans of the House of Representatives said the new bill will not change the cost of living, but will pull future teachers renting off the board to a "hybrid" plan, CBS affiliate WLKY reported.
Republican Governor Matt Bevin tweeted his support for the bill, saying public employees owed "a deep debt of gratitude" to lawmakers who voted to insist.
But many teachers in the state's second largest school district responded that they would not come to work on Friday (19659002) The Capitol was full of emotions, as the legislators held passionate speeches, carried by the songs "do the right thing" by the teachers in the halls that seeped through the city closed doors of the Legislative Chambers. In the house, the Republicans turned to one of the few teachers in the state legislature to support the bill in the hope of calming the storm of protests outside.
"That concerns me directly, and so I have decided to take this today to try to help reassure our educators and others to say that this is necessary to consolidate your future pension," said Rep. John "Bam" Carney. But as he spoke, someone in the gallery shouted that he was a "scab," and teachers who gathered outside the chamber chanted it was time for Carney to leave.
The GOP-controlled house approved the bill Thursday night, 49-46. Eleven Republicans joined 35 Democrats against the measure. The senate said goodbye later, 22-15, when the teachers outside "shame on you!" Riefen
Democratic MP Tom Burch called the bill "garbage" when he slammed it on the table during a hastily scheduled meeting on Thursday. He called the Republicans "a horde of cowards" because they had not decided to legalize marijuana and casino gambling. Revenues, he said, could be used to reduce pension debt.
"How can you shave in the morning?" Burch asked
The law removes some of the most vilified provisions of earlier proposals. Current and retired teachers who are not eligible for social security benefits still receive annual increases of 1.5 percent in their pension tests. And current workers would not have to work longer to qualify for the full benefits.
But new employees would be moved to a hybrid plan. They would be guaranteed to get back all the money they and the taxpayers put into their retirement accounts, plus 85 percent of all investment profits. The state would keep the other 15 percent.
"Think about it, it's crazy," Republican Deputy Chad McCoy said.
But the bill would also remove new teachers from an "inviolable contract" that would protect them from future performance changes. Former educators like Carlotta Abbot were worried about how that would affect the future of their profession.
"I have a 19-year-old granddaughter who wants to become an educator, and I can not encourage her in good faith to become a teacher now," she said.
The bill came so quickly that some lawmakers signaled that that they did not know how it would affect the system financially, Republican MP John "Bam" Carney said lawmakers expect to save $ 300 million over the next 30 years, but Kentucky has at least $ 41 billion less than the money he needs to pay old-age pensions at the same time.
"There was some hope that some of the things we could do with pension reform could have a bigger impact on this future liability. But at the end of the day There simply was not the will to do that, "said Speaker of the House of Representatives David Osborne.
Since taking office in 2015, Bevins' priority To support the pension system encountered difficulties. Thousands of teachers and public employees recently marched in the Capitol and legislators were under pressure. Frustrated, Bevin called opponents of his plan "selfish" and "intentionally ill-informed." His comments earned revenge from republican legislative leaders and galvanized the opposition.
But by the time that with the time of the 2018 legislative session and lawmakers not yet approved a two-year operational budget, republican leaders said they must receive the pension bill
"This question threatened to raise the important issues in the Session remain, suffocating, "Osborne said.