FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky’s largest school district and its teachers union reached an agreement Thursday to send three teachers per school voluntarily to the Capitol for the rest of the legislative session, Jefferson County Teachers Association President Brent McKim said.
JCPS has been closed since Wednesday as teachers called in absences en masse and triggered closures.
McKim said he hoped the agreement would alleviate concerns by teachers who have caused JCPS to close for three days in the past week.
“We have about 160 sites, so we could have as many as 480 educators down here to have a strong presence from Jefferson County throughout the remaining four days of the session without causing schools to be closed,” he said.
JCPS Superintendent sent a letter to teachers and staff in reference to the deal:
McKim said he spoke with a leader of JCPS Leads, a grassroots group that gave teachers a platform to mobilize Wednesday, and explained “why it makes a lot of sense for everyone involved, both the educators and the students and families.”
"We had a very positive discussion with one of the leaders of the group, and we are hopeful that they will be supportive," he said.
Tim Hill, a leader in the grassroots group JCPS Leads that gave teachers a platform to mobilize, said he expected to be back in his classroom at the Academy @ Shawnee Friday unless wintry weather causes JCPS to close.
"It would be completely ironic if that did happen," he said.
Hill said the agreement between JCTA, which has not endorsed efforts by teachers to close schools through unfilled absences, and JCPS "provides options, and it is something that we can utilize."
Still, reactions from teachers in JCPS Leads has been mixed. Some support the idea of sending three educators from each school on a rotational basis to the Capitol during the last four days of the session while others disagree with the approach, Hill said. Some don't feel strongly one way or the other about it, he said.
The group, like it has done before, is letting its members decide what direction they want to take as individuals.
"The reasoning behind what we are doing in JCPS Leads is we are, first and foremost, going to do what is necessary to advocate for our kids," Hill said. "To be completely honest with you, how people advocate for their kids is their own decision."
"I have faith that the teachers I work with will make the best decision for the community and the students we work with," he added.
The House and Senate are set to resume business Tuesday.
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