FCPS closed Thursday due to apparent teacher ‘sick out’

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Fayette County Public Schools cancelled classes Thursday, February 28, after 40% of the district’s staff said they would not be at school, according to district officials.

The move is an apparent protest of proposed public pension reform legislation before the General Assembly.

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The Legislative Research Commission called the move a “sick out.”

The LRC released this statement:

A spokesperson for the district says there aren’t enough substitutes to cover the high percentage of absences.

In light of news that at least one Kentucky school district has closed Thursday as a result of a teacher “sick out” about HB 525, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Ken Upchurch, has issued the following statement:

“I have been told that teachers in at least two of our largest school districts are planning a ‘sick out’ to protest the preliminary version of legislation that seeks to give educators more say in their own retirement.

It is staggering that people would strike so early in the process and more astonishing that the organization that says they represent teachers’ best interests has called for it. We have been working for more than a week on a committee substitute that will not only increase the say teachers have – particularly those with JCTA – but also the voice of retired educators. Despite this, I am hopeful that we can still have a rational conversation on HB 525.”

A social media post from the group KY120 United encourages Kentucky teachers to call out sick Thursday and to go Frankfort ahead of a hearing on the proposed legislation, House Bill 525.

The post, which was made on a private page, was sent to our sister station in Louisville, WHAS-TV, by a Jefferson County Public School teacher.

The post asks teachers to call out on Thursday, February 28, in an attempt to close the school districts.

The Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Education Wayne D Lewis comments on Thursday’s school closings, saying: “It is unfair to Kentucky’s students and families, unreasonable, and irresponsible to attempt to shut down our state’s public school system because a House committee will consider a bill. Educators can and should make their views known in Frankfort, but there is no reason for our kids not to be in school tomorrow.”