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Lincoln cancels school Friday for Frankfort protests

Lincoln County has canceled school on Friday, due to nearly a quarter of the district’s certified teachers asking to use their personal days.

“My assumption is these teachers are taking their personal days to go to Frankfort to protest,” Superintendent Michael Rowe said Wednesday afternoon.

Rowe said About 86 teachers had asked to be off Friday as of Wednesday afternoon, as well as 10 classified employees. He expected the number of time-off requests to rise from there. Lincoln employs around 370 teachers, which means more than 23 percent of teachers had already asked to be off as of Wednesday.

“We don’t have enough people to cover the subs,” Rowe said.

Rowe sent out a memo Wednesday cancelling school Friday, “as a large portion of our staff travel to Frankfort to advocate for our students and public education.”

According to Rowe’s memo, there are three bills of particular interest to teachers that Gov. Matt Bevin has vetoed; educators want the legislature to override the governor’s vetoes.

The legislature’s budget and revenue bills were both vetoed.

“The budget compromise reached by the House and Senate could still be a net loss for Lincoln County Schools, but is far better than the governor’s proposal,” Rowe states in the memo. “The governor vetoed  the compromise reached by the House and Senate. We urge our state legislature to override the governor’s vetoes. If no budget is passed, it is uncertain what would occur during a potential special session.”

Rowe said Bevin also vetoed a bill that phases in increases to retirement contributions made by cities, counties and school districts. If the phase-in bill isn’t passed, the Lincoln County School District would be burdened with an additional expense of about $475,000 all at once, according to Rowe’s memo.

“Not only is this going to be difficult to absorb, it is extremely concerning if it is all at once,” Rowe wrote.

By cancelling school, Rowe said the district will have to add another day onto the end of the school year. He said it’s possible the Board of Education would vote to add the Tuesday after Memorial Day to the calendar.

In his memo, Rowe wrote that district employees are “not traveling to Frankfort for selfish reasons.”

“We are advocating for our students and public education. If the massive cuts and increased costs occur, it will have a negative impact on what we are able to do for our students,” he wrote. “We want to be a united voice urging our legislators to make the right decisions for the future of the students in the Lincoln County Schools.”