Jefferson County Public Schools
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Teacher protests close schools for two days in Jefferson County (Ky.) district

March 8, 2019
Teachers have been protesting in an effort to stop state legislature from passing legislation that would benefit private schools.

Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools were not in session Thursday because the district can't find enough substitutes to cover teacher absences.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that it is the second day in a row — and the third time in a week — that a teacher "sickout" closed the 156 schools in Kentucky's largest district.

Neighboring Oldham County Schools and Bullitt County Public Schools also announced that they are closed Thursday as a result of a teacher sickout. 

UPDATE: The Jefferson County school system says it will be open Friday. For the last two days, teachers have called in sick to protest proposed state legislation. The district and the Jefferson County Teachers Association have agreed on a plan that will allow about 500 teachers to go the state Capitol in Frankfurt, but also would keep the schools from closing. 

The legislative session is scheduled to end next week.


A massive teacher "sickout" forced the Jefferson County (Ky.) school district to cancel classes Wednesday — the second time in less than week Kentucky's largest district has had to shut down.

Social media posts show district teachers felt their district could be significantly affected by a school-choice bill that still has a chance of passing in the final days of the 2019 legislative session.

That bill, House Bill 205, would incentivize Kentuckians to donate to private school scholarship programs in exchange for annual dollar-for-dollar tax breaks up to $1 million.

Educators across Kentucky, including all 173 district superintendents, have voiced opposition to the bill, which they say would drain money from the state's revenues and ultimately hurt public schools.

Supporters of the bill, meanwhile, argue that the bill would give more families the ability to choose schools that best fit their children's needs. 

The bill was heard by the House appropriations and revenue committee on Tuesday, but lawmakers did not vote on the measure.The bill's sponsor, Rep. John "Bam" Carney, says he does not yet have the 60 votes needed for the legislation to pass out of the house.

In a Facebook video posted Tuesday night, Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler told teachers they needed to remain on high alert.

"As we know, there's lots of bundling and shady shenanigans that can happen at the 'nth'-hour, at the end of a session when they feel they're going to run out of time," says Winkler, adding that lawmakers could tack the scholarship tax credit bill on to another piece of legislation.

KY 120 United, a grassroots advocacy group that initiated a sickout on Feb. 28, had asked its members Tuesday night to focus on calling legislators, rather than calling out from school. 

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