Ashland teachers rally against proposed pension cuts

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ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Kentucky teachers are protesting a bill in the general assembly that will cost them money in retirement.

Local teachers are holding walk-ins to demonstrate against the proposed cuts.

Teachers in the Ashland Independent School District held a unity walk Tuesday morning to demonstrate against the pension cuts.

"We feel that in eastern Kentucky this is kind of our one way to have a voice," social teachers teacher John Mulvaney said. "We can't be in Frankfort every day because we're not willing to leave these kids. This is a way to let Frankfort know that anyone who votes for this bill or passes this bill, it's going to be remembered in November."

Dozens of teachers gathered with signs in front of Paul G. Blazer High School.

"We have been called willfully blind. It's been suggested that we're a little bit ignorant of what's going on and the reality is these are some of the most educated people in the state of Kentucky," Mulvaney said. "All we really want is the respect that we feel like we deserve from our state that we serve every single day and that starts with keeping that promise which is a promise to fund our pensions."

"We've been funding it from our side every single day, every single paycheck, every single time we show up on campus and now the state of Kentucky, to fix a shortfall in liability, is trying to move money around that is going to hurt us and if it hurts us, it eventually hurts the kids and that's what we care about the most," Mulvaney said.

They're also speaking out on social media through the "#KyTeachersChallenge."

Teachers are sharing why they became teachers on social media, as well as who inspired them and to ask for public support.

"We need people to call every day to say no to Senate Bill 1," social studies teacher, Michelle Tackett, said.

Teachers are also sharing the message, "a pension is a promise,"

"I was told in 1993 when I started that I would have that secured pension as a public servant, that I would have it to retire and the possibility of it being changed ... the possibility of it being taken after I've paid in it for 23 years is scary," Tackett said. "It's just upsetting that it may not be there for me, that's what I've depended upon. I know it's not being taken away completely, but it's just being so dramatically changed, plus the cuts in education so it's so concerning."

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