Hundreds of teachers rally in western Kentucky against Senate Bill 1

Hundreds of teachers rally in western Kentucky against Senate Bill 1
Around 250 teachers and community members rallied outside of Ohio County High School against Senate Bill 1.

OHIO CO., KY (WFIE) - Hundreds of teachers in Western Kentucky rallied in the bitter cold today against Senate Bill 1, joining thousands of others in the state.

The pension reform bill would cut some annual cost of living increases on teacher pensions, but save taxpayers millions.

Over 250 people stood with a sign in hand outside of Ohio County High School in Hartford, Kentucky on Monday.

"It surprises me and sickens me," Teacher Kristi Wiles told us, who says she was there to protest what she say is not only a pension problem, but a school funding crisis.

Wiles is also the President of the Ohio County Education Association and has taught for 18 years. Wiles says she organized the rally last week, when the bill was sent back to a committee for more review on Friday.

Wiles is asking lawmakers "to find funding. For the students and the pensions. Not to reform, but to not violate the inviolable contract," Wiles explained.

Ohio County Public School Superintendent Scott Lewis joined the rally. Lewis says, it's about protecting the future of the profession, too. He thinks cuts to funding for pensions and schools will make it hard to hire teachers in Kentucky.

"We're here for the long haul. This is going to be another two or three week long process," Lewis told the crowd. "Hopefully our message is heard. Hopefully people up there in Frankfort do appreciate the value of education."

"I didn't expect this many," Wiles said when overlooking the crowd of supporters holding signs along the road. With the weather and the snow day I thought it would keep people away but it hasn't."

We're learning some school districts on Kentucky's east side say they are prepared to cancel classes as a strike to protest the cuts. Some teachers said they're willing to strike, but striking is illegal in Kentucky.

The only way it could happen is if superintendents agreed to close the schools.

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