IMAGES | Thousands rally in Frankfort protest pension reform bill, education cuts

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Teachers and other public workers from across Kentucky rallied in Frankfort on Monday to protest a week after Kentucky lawmakers passed a pension reform bill. 

Most public schools are out for Spring Break this week, but many schools that were not on break closed because of the rally. 

Brent McKim, President of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, said a number of buses were chartered to bring in demonstrators, and many others were expected to drive or carpool. 

McKim said the protest is about more than just pension reform. 

"The message we're trying to send to the legislature is they need to repair the drastic cuts that the governor made in the budget for public education so we have what we need to help every student succeed," McKim said.  "What's being considered today is the state budget that has the cuts to transportation, cuts to family resource centers, tons of cuts to textbooks. And we're here for our kids to say they need to restore those cuts.

"We're certainly also saying that the way they passed that 'sewer bill' - which is just a terrible piece of legislation - is reprehensible. But right now we're talking about the state budget that gets passed today and they need to take care of our kids." 

Educators met at KEA headquarters at 8 a.m. with plans to march to the Capitol at 9 a.m. for the 10 a.m. rally. 

Emily Blanton, a teacher from Southern High School in Louisville, was among those protesting Monday morning. She said she felt compelled to show her support because it's the right thing to do. 

"I've been telling my students they've got to stand up for what's right, and I knew that this wasn't right so I had to come down here and be a voice for them and a voice for my future students," Blanton said. "I'm only in my tenth year teaching so I've got another two decade to go, and I know I need to make sure it's fully funded for those thousands of students I'll have in the future." 

Officials estimated around 10,000 people showed up at the rally.

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