Bevin says he’s ‘sick of sickouts,’ JCTA union president denies governor’s ‘bizarre’ claims

Teachers packed the committee meeting room where House Bill 525 was discussed.
Teachers packed the committee meeting room where House Bill 525 was discussed.(WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Mar. 11, 2019 at 9:52 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The potential for another sickout led to a heated social media exchange Monday night between Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and the president of the Jefferson County Teacher’s Association.

It started when Bevin posted a video to YouTube claiming JCTA is pretending they do not support the sickout. Bevin said behind closed doors union leaders helped to facilitate it by “reloading” sick days into teacher accounts.

“This is the kind of stuff that the tax payers of Kentucky, which is those of you watching this, you should be offended by this,” Bevin said in the nearly four minute long video. Story continues below video.

“The idea that we would be calling in sick, anybody, and doing this at the expense of kids, including testing for ACT and prep for this, the ability for kids livelihoods as they head into post-secondary world, are dependent on what’s happening now,” Bevin said. “(That’s) being disrupted because of the handful of people who are putting their own interests ahead of the kids. This is just not acceptable.”

Within an hour, JCTA President Brent McKim went live on Facebook to say Bevin needs to check his facts.

“To say it’s a false assertion would be an understatement,” McKim said. “It’s really a bizarre assertion. We have no mechanism whatsoever for being able to reload teacher sick days.”

McKim also responded to Bevin’s accusation that teachers who call off to protest in Frankfort are only thinking of themselves. Story continues below video.

Posted by Brent McKim on Monday, March 11, 2019

“The governor needs to own that his decisions have consequences. And bashing educators again and again contributes to undermining their confidence in their elected leaders in Frankfort and then we see them feeling like they have to be there because they don’t trust what’s happening,” McKim said. “The governor needs to own that and he needs to change his ways.”

WAVE 3 News reached out to both JCPS and the governor’s office to try and get some clarification. JCPS deferred us to JCTA and Bevin’s office had not responded as of Monday night.

JCPS has canceled class on Tuesday, March 12. The ACT testing for JCPS students has been rescheduled to Wednesday, April 24.

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