Jefferson County Public Schools will be closed Thursday due to a teacher sickout — the second in a row and the third in the past week.
JCPS officials called off school Wednesday night after over 1,000 teachers called in sick. Shortly before the decision, Oldham County and Bullitt County announced they would also be closed due to significant teacher absences.
Kentucky’s largest district also canceled class Wednesday after a divergent group of JCPS teachers pushed for a sickout. Unlike in past demonstrations, JCPS found themselves to be the only district using a sickout to protest legislation.
Despite two groups of educators now calling the sickout shots — JCPS Leads and the statewide KY 120 United — neither seem to be fully behind Thursday’s closures. When asked, JCPS Leads leader Tim Hill said a sickout would be up to educators.
“There isn’t a sick-out happening,” Hill said early Wednesday night. “This is a mobilization. We are mobilizing our colleagues, parents, students, and community partners to show support wherever they are or may end up, such as Frankfort.”
Mass call-offs are becoming increasingly focused on the larger image instead of specific bills. Educators, both in JCPS and in Kentucky, feel ignored and attacked by lawmakers who pass what they perceive as anti-public education legislation.
Wednesday’s solo JCPS sickout focused on both a district-specific bill — Senate Bill 250, which would give the JCPS superintendent more authority — and larger fears of public education funding taking a hit should scholarship tax credit legislation pass.
Last Thursday, a bill trying to change the makeup of the teachers’ pension board caused eight districts to close. That bill, House Bill 525, passed out of committee but has been stalled in the House since. It may be voted on Thursday when the House reconvenes.
Hey, #JCPS and Louisville followers: What are some resources students and families can use for food, etc. should schools be closed in the future?
If you know of something, comment below so the resources can be shared.
— Olivia Krauth (@oliviakrauth) March 7, 2019
This post may be updated.