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Graves Teachers Celebrate KY Public Education
By Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools
MAYFIELD, KY - "We are standing up in support of public education," said Graves County Education Association president Michael Delaney, as he and 15-20 fellow members and supporters of the Graves County and Kentucky education associations stood in front of the performing arts center corner of Graves County High School Friday morning, April 13. "We thought it was time for us to speak up and show the community that we know where our place is and that's with our students, while at the same time voicing our concerns about funding, our pensions, and the future for these students of Graves County."

Delaney continued, "If the (state) legislature continues on the path it's going, the future of these school districts is in question. There's no doubt about that. The financial burdens they've placed on public education is just onerous."

The future also is affected, Delaney said. "It is difficult anymore to bring people into teaching because of the demands placed on our time and resources. The legislature has made that even more so at this point with the revamping of the pension, placing new hires into a new system. It's going to be more difficult than ever to recruit and retain quality teachers. So, we are standing out here today, showing folks that we are supportive of what we do – that we do stand up for public education, even when it might not be popular with some folks."

Delaney said he's hopeful, based on recent events. "We started with the governor's proposal back in the summer that was draconian, to put it nicely. At this point, we have come so far. We have the best SEEK funding we've ever had in the state. Current teachers' retirement isn't going to change. We have added back into the budget both transportation funds and family resource and youth services centers. The cost of living allowance for retirees is staying the same. We went into this with a list of things, saying these things can't change and they met us there, with the exception of the retirement for new teacher hires and the sick day calculation. We think there's reason to celebrate, but the fight continues. Even today on the hill (in the General Assembly), we have to override two vetoes today."

KEA has influenced the conversation, Delaney said. "We're happy with the ground we made up with our legislators. I believe we started the session miles and miles apart, but because the members of KEA and our communities and everybody across the commonwealth stood up and said, 'No! We must invest in our children and our communities. I believe those legislators heard us loud and clear. Then, the legislators came back to the table with more (funding). Are we 100 percent happy? No, we're not, but we're going to take our celebrations where they're due."


Published 01:31 PM, Friday Apr. 13, 2018
Updated 05:51 AM, Wednesday Apr. 18, 2018

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