Kentucky 120 United Calls for “Sickout”

Staff Report

Schools across the state are being asked to call for a sickout Thursday, Feb. 28, to oppose House Bill 525.

The bill, which was filed by Republican Representative Ken Upchurch of the 52nd District, seeks to restructure the Teacher Retirement System board of trustees and will be heard in committee tomorrow at noon with teachers from across the state expected to be at the capitol.

“Please call in sick tomorrow and text your co-workers to do the same,” states a message from the Kentucky 120 United group

On Wednesday, Kentucky Education Association, President Stephanie Winkler, took to Facebook with a Facebook live video asking for teachers to continue to call into their representatives to ask them to vote “no” on HB 525. The Kentucky 120 United leader also took to Facebook Wednesday evening asking for teachers to call off sick Thursday to close schools.

As of 5:32 a.m. Thursday, Boyd County Public Schoools was the only school system to close in the Boyd-Greenup County area. Schools in Fayette County and Jeffereson County have been closed for Thursday releasing a statement on their Twitter page.

“As of eight this evening, roughly 40 percent of our school employees have reported that they will not be at school tomorrow, which leaves our district without enough substitutes to cover all of the absences. As a result, all Fayette County Public Schools will be closed Thursday, 2.28.19,” the post read.

Upchurch released a statement concerning the proposed “sickout.”

"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."

Kentucky 120 United also posted on their social media site Thursday morning stating:

"We love our students, our communities, our commonwealth. We show up every day in the classroom with a lot of passion, but sadly passion will not substitute for our pension or our paycheck. It has been crystal clear for over a year that public education, teachers, and our public pensions are under attack. Enough is enough. This isn’t about just one bill but a series of events that have transpired over the past year. #120Strong"

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is obtained