NewsCovering Kentucky


KDE Requests Information From School Districts With High Number Of Teacher Absences

Posted at 7:02 PM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 19:07:06-04
Teachers sit in a hearing room to protest a bill that would change how individuals are nominated to the Kentucky teachers retirement systems board of trustees, in Frankfort, Ky, Thursday, Feb 28, 2019. At least six Kentucky school districts were forced to close Thursday, including the two largest systems in the state, as a wave of teachers called in sick to protest what one leader called “half-truths” and “shadiness” at the state legislature.(AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)


FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18)– The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) announced that they have requested information from school districts with a high number of teacher absences since February 28, 2019.

They say the email request was sent to 10 school districts today: Bath, Boyd, Bullitt, Carter, Fayette, Jefferson, Letcher, Madison, Marion, and Oldham.

The email requested the following:

1.)The names of all teachers that called in sick for February 28, March 5-7, and/or March 12-14, 2019 and the day(s) for which each teacher called in sick;

2.) Any and all affidavits or certificates of a reputable physician stating that the employee was ill or caring for an ill family member on the days the employee called in sick, as required by KRS 161.155 for the granting of any sick leave; and

3.)Documentation of the district’s policies, procedures, and/or protocols for collecting sick leave affidavits or certifications and verifying qualification for the granting of sick leave.

The KDE said that records are due by March 18, 2019.

“The Kentucky Department of Education takes the closing of schools very seriously,” said Commissioner Wayne Lewis. “While it is important that administrators, teachers and students make their voices heard about issues related to public education policy, advocacy should under no circumstances be putting a stop to learning for entire communities. Most Kentucky districts have managed to make that avenue available without work stoppages and have continued to serve students.”

The Kentucky Education Association released the following statement, “Governor Bevin, Commissioner Lewis and some legislators are publicly taking educators to task for calling in sick to come to Frankfort to defend public education and their livelihoods. They argue that what educators are doing is inappropriate and illegal, and that they should be disciplined for it. What they fail to recognize is that their educator constituents and their families simply do not trust them. Given the General Assembly’s recent history with HB 151, educators have no reason to believe public statements that are being made about what will or won’t happen this session. Educators know from experience that the General Assembly bears watching, particularly during the closing days of the session. It is possible that superintendents could take disciplinary action against educators who have called in sick to come to Frankfort to exercise their First Amendment rights. It is our hope that they won’t. Making educators – who are all citizens of this Commonwealth — choose between keeping their livelihood and exercising their constitutional rights is despicable. We hope that all superintendents recognize that such a show of political force by public school employees is a gesture of support for public school students, parents, school boards and school administrations all across the state. The educators who have come to Frankfort are teaching the most important lesson of all: one must stand up for one’s principles even in the face of powerful opposition.”