Schools to be open Friday amid protests in Frankfort

More schools set to close for teacher rally

Demonstrators chanted "show your face" as Republicans in charge of the state House met behind closed doors to set strategy for the final two days of this year's legislative session.

On Friday Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, said the veto means the the state could lose almost half a billion dollars in new education funding.

In Danville, hundreds of educators and supporters of teachers from Boyle County, Mercer County, Danville Independent and the Kentucky School for the Deaf rallied with signs, cheers and plenty of honks from passing cars.

Ahead of lawmakers' return to Frankfort on Friday, more than two dozen school districts across the state have already canceled classes in response to a surge of teachers requesting time off.

There are no organized events at today's gathering, but teachers will be reaching out to their legislators in hopes they can override Governor Matt Bevin's veto. The rally took on a festival-like atmosphere as some teachers sat in lawn chairs or sprawled out on blankets.

The bill raises revenue for the state over the next two years.

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"If the legislature demonstrates that they're not able to override the governor's veto, that essentially puts him in the position of being able to dictate terms in a special session, and we've seen what that looks like - significant cuts to all sorts of programs, cuts to transportation, cuts to the benefits that employees have to attract and keep employees, and ultimately it hurts kids". Observers expect close votes on the overrides. They are instead focused on a battle over their pensions.

Middle school science teacher Leslie Atkins said several students came to her Thursday and asked if she was attending the rally "for us".

Lawmakers approved a $480 million tax increase to pay for it, including a 6 percent sales tax on services such as auto and home repairs, and higher income taxes for some individuals and businesses. Bevin barked back, calling union leaders "absolute frauds" who had not been clear in what they wanted.

The state will contribute more to teachers' pensions every month because they aren't eligible for Social Security. The changes preserve benefits for most workers, but move new hires into a hybrid plan.

Opponents worry this will discourage young people from becoming teachers.

Named as defendants are Bevin, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne, R-Prospect, and the boards of trustees of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System and Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

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