FRANKFORT, Ky. — A major public school system in Kentucky has canceled classes four times in the last week due to 'significant teacher absences.' These JCPS teachers have called in sick so they can protest bills being heard in Frankfort.
By now, you've most likely heard a few numbers being thrown around that include a lot of 2's and 5's.
Here's a brief look at what these bills say and what their current status is in the Kentucky Legislative Session.
House Bill 205
This bill would give tax credits to people who donate to specific scholarship funds. These scholarships would help children with special needs, in foster care, or from low-income families attend private school.
Supporters of the bill say that it will increase school choice for underprivileged kids, but opponents say that the bill would take too much money from the public school system. An estimate by the Legislative Research Commission says the bill could cost taxpayers as much as $209 million by 2025.
HB 205 is still currently in the House Committee for Appropriations and Revenue. The committee hearing on March 5 was met with some strong words from opponents and supporters.
Representative Bam Carney said the bill appears to be "resting comfortably," meaning it will not have time to be brought up this session but will not be counted out next legislative session.
House Bill 525
House Bill 525 will determine the members of the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System's Board of Trustees.
The bill changes how many teachers are required to be on the board and how trustees are nominated, worrying leaders at the Kentucky Education Association and the Jefferson County Teachers Association.
RAW VIDEO: Teachers father in Frankfort as HB 525 is set for discussion.
The bill was passed by the House State Government Committee on February 28, despite teachers staging a "sick-out" to attend a protest in Frankfort.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Ken Upchurch, said that lawmakers are working on an amendment to address teachers' concerns and some amendments have been proposed.
While the bill was listed on the Kentucky House orders of the day on March 13, Rep. Bam Carney said it will not be discussed today, meaning the bill is essentially dead this legislative session. Carney said the bill was similarly "resting comfortably," not pushing away the idea that it can be brought up in the next legislative session.
Senate Bill 250
SB 250 would, essentially, give more power to the current Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Marty Pollio.
It would allow the superintendent to approve contracts up to $50,000 without board approval, allow the superintendent to hire principals without the School-Based Decision Making Council's input, and allow the superintendent to make changes to executive staff more easily.
Supporters of the bill say that it would give Dr. Pollio more opportunities to make a "positive change" in JCPS, while opponents worry that it takes too much power away from the School-Based Decision Making Council.
Protests of this bill led to another day of canceled classes at JCPS.
The bill passed March 12, with a 54-42 House vote, and will head to the Governor's desk.
Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now.