Jefferson County teachers line up to protest in the Capitol Annex. | Photo by Olivia Krauth

Kentucky high school juniors may get a little extra time to prepare for a statewide ACT test thanks to potential teacher sickouts, the state department of education said on Monday.

All Kentucky juniors, including 6,000 in Jefferson County, are scheduled to take the ACT on Tuesday, March 12. But as teachers consider closing districts to protest multiple education bills this week, the test may be moved to April in some districts.

Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said he is allowing all Kentucky districts the option to keep the test as scheduled for Tuesday or to push it to the current make-up date on April 24. Students need to know whether or not they should prepare to take the college entrance exam on Tuesday, he said.

If districts opt to push the test, a new make-up day will be scheduled for May, Lewis said. Superintendents don’t have a deadline to tell the state department if they plan on canceling the test, a department spokeswoman said.

The state-offered test may be the only time some students will be able to take the exam and receive a score that can help them get into colleges.

JCPS teachers could stage the fourth sickout since Feb. 28 on Tuesday, along with additional protests on Wednesday and Thursday. Kentucky’s largest district also was closed last Wednesday and Thursday to protest bills they consider part of a larger attack on public education.

To avoid future sickouts, JCPS’ teachers union and the district agreed to a plan to send three teachers per school to Frankfort for the remaining four days of the session — roughly 500 bodies. It was met with backlash from some educators, who considered it too little, too late.

Some considered Tuesday’s ACT offering as something that could prevent teachers from having a sickout, despite promises to return to Frankfort for each remaining day of the session. With that potentially off of the calendar, it is unclear if teachers will abide by the union’s plan or continue to call in en masse, forcing a sickout.

Union President Brent McKim said Monday he has answered several questions regarding the unprecedented agreement, but said, “We will not really know how it is going until we see what sick day calls look like for (Tuesday).”

Olivia Krauth
Krauth reports on education in Louisville, including JCPS, the University of Louisville and state policy.Before joining Insider Louisville, she covered technology and business as a reporter at TechRepublic. She also spent time on the data team at the Austin American-Statesman in Texas as a Dow Jones intern.Krauth graduated from UofL, where she was an award-winning editor of The Louisville Cardinal and obtained a degree in investigative journalism with a minor in Russian studies.Email Olivia at [email protected]