Gov. Bevin, KEA respond to teachers calling in sick to protest

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WSAZ) -- Kentucky's largest school district is closed again as about one third of its teachers called in sick so they could protest at the state Capitol.

Tuesday was the fourth time in two weeks Jefferson County Public Schools had to close because it did not have enough substitutes to cover for absent teachers.

Teachers are worried about many things at the state legislature, including a proposal to create scholarship tax credits for private schools.

Gov. Matt Bevin posted a video Monday evening, saying Kentuckians are "sick of sickouts." You can watch the video in its entirety, but he says in part:

"I want to speak briefly to something that has been very topical, and I think parents across Kentucky are very appropriately getting a little weary of, and that is the idea of pretending to be sick when you're not sick and doing this at the expense of the very students that public education is intended to serve," the governor said. "This is about the students and it should be about the students, not about what's in the best interest of the KEA or any of these other groups that want to attract attention and resources and power to themselves. This is about the teachers themselves and their ability to do the job of educating kids, because at the end of the day this is about the kids."

The Kentucky Education Association released the following response to Bevin's comments:

“Educators across Kentucky are defending attacks on public education funding by appealing to their elected officials. Through personal appeals, phone calls, emails or texts, thousands of educators, parents and concerned citizens have voiced their approval or opposition to legislation that affects our students and our public schools. In every county and school system, those who support public education are being heard. The governor has been well quoted for his disdain of the legislative process and the activism of those who have opposed some of his policies. Educators are sick and tired of being brushed off and vilified by this governor who has repeatedly disregarded our input and importance to the future of our Commonwealth. Citizens from Pikeville to Paducah have stood behind our efforts because they understand that we are standing up for their children and our students. We applaud the funding of pensions. We hope the governor applauds the activism and passion that educators have for our public schools and our students. We are Republicans, Independents and Democrats. But first we are educators who support public education. Where there is disagreement with our elected officials, educators will continue to have our voice heard in Frankfort.”