Educators arrived in Frankfort Monday morning from all corners of Kentucky, including the state’s northern counties.
“I think this is a day that’s very important to many of us; many of us that have been around a while, too,” Mary Birkenhauer said.
Birkenhauer is a teacher at Boone County High School. As lawmakers debated a last-minute budget bill inside Kentucky’s statehouse, she explained why she and her colleagues rallied outside.
“It’s good to see that the young people are coming out to see how important it is to have a pension, to have support for public schools, to not have charter schools,” Birkenhauer said. “The funding needs to be here, and our legislators need to see we mean business.”
“If tax dollars fund public education, why are we still having fundraisers and bake sales to fund the very tools students need to be successful?” Kenton Education Association president Stephanie Winkler said, addressing a large crowd of educators.
Speaker after speaker decried potential cuts to education funding and a pension reform bill Kentucky’s Republican-led House and Senate passed last week. Critics of the bill contend it will hurt retirement savings for future Kentucky teachers.
After listening to speeches, Lauren Bowman, an elementary school teacher in Covington, marched to Kentucky’s Capitol and called for the state’s legislators to make education a priority.
“It’s really nice that we were able to come up here, show some support for other teachers; students — that’s really what matters, that they’re the future of education — and just the let legislators know that we’ll remember this in November,” Bowman said.