Schools to be open Friday amid protests in Frankfort

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Schools closed in Louisville, Lexington and more than 30 other districts to accommodate all the school workers wanting to attend the rally in Frankfort. To override Bevin's vetoes, lawmakers must gain 51 votes in the House and 20 votes in the Senate.

Students will see a cut in kindergarten and preschool services, class size, extracurricular services, family resource centers, tutoring and counseling if the bill is not overridden, the post states.

Many school districts, including the state's largest, closed on Friday because so many teachers were expected to head to lawmaker.

On Thursday morning, Bevin went on WVLC Radio to criticize the teachers union for opposing his vetoes after teachers packed the Capitol to protest the initial passage of the budget and tax bills.

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If every one of the 212 film projects approved so far this year gets made, the resulting bill to taxpayers would be enough to wipe out nearly all of the $500 million in new revenue the state expects to collect over the next two years from a tax overhaul plan lawmakers approved last week to help balance Kentucky's budget.

The Republican-controlled House voted 66-28 to override Bevin's vetoes of House Bill 200. Observers expect close votes on the overrides. He said he met with House and Senate leaders all week to propose a more "responsible way to pay for 100 percent of the requested education funding".

Bevin urged the legislature not to override his vetoes earlier in the week, and asked them to spend the last two days of the legislative session creating a balanced budget that he would sign into law.

John Chilton, Bevin's budget director, said he understands lawmakers have new bills to raise revenue and govern spending and could introduce them Friday or Saturday. The demonstrations were inspired by West Virginia teachers, whose nine-day walkout after many years without raises led to a 5 percent pay hike.

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In Oklahoma, teachers ended two weeks of walkouts on Thursday, shifting their focus to electing pro-education candidates in November. They lost the pensions battle, but lawmakers responded with a budget plan that included record-high classroom spending.

With the chants of hundreds of teachers ringing in their ears, Kentucky lawmakers voted Friday to override the Republican governor's veto of a more than $480 million tax increase meant to fuel increases in public education spending. Kentucky has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the country, with the state at least $41 billion short of what it needs to pay retirement benefits over the next 30 years.

The pension changes have already drawn a court challenge. They claim the diminished benefits for future teachers will discourage others from choosing teaching as a career.

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