NewsCovering Kentucky


Courier-Journal: Education Department Hands Over Bevin Administration Teacher Sickout Names

Posted at 8:45 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-02 21:26:41-04

(The Courier-Journal)– The Courier-Journal is reporting that the names of teachers possibly involved in sickouts this year have been given to Governor Matt Bevin’s administration.

Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis told the paper that his department turned over all records it had received from school districts related to the sickouts between February 28 and March 14. He said they have given the administration the names of the teachers possibly involved after a subpoena was issued.

He told the newspaper that the department intends to keep the records confidential and at this time “it is not taking a position on whether individual teachers have broken the law.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear announced that he is filing suit against the Labor Cabinet to withdraw subpoenas against several school boards.

An email was sent to ten school districts requesting information: : 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.

Commissioner Lewis released the following statement, “Today in response to a subpoena issued by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the Kentucky Department of Education produced records in our possession related to the recent teacher sickouts. As you know, the Kentucky Attorney General and the Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) have sought injunctive relief from subpoenas issued by the Labor Cabinet to 10 Kentucky local school districts. The Kentucky Department of Education is not a party to that lawsuit. Of note, however, in that filing, the Kentucky Attorney General and the JCTA suggested that rather than subpoena local school districts for these records, it would have been more appropriate to obtain said records from KDE. Specifically, the Attorney General and JCTA state:If the Labor Secretary wanted information from the school districts, he could have merely asked for that information from the Education Commissioner, who already requested inspection of the school districts’ records related to the sick-outs. It has always been my preference that the Labor Cabinet obtain any records needed for investigation directly from local school districts. Nevertheless, KDE’s legal counsel advised me that the subpoena was lawful, and as such, we have complied. I do not anticipate KDE having further involvement in the Labor Cabinet’s investigation.”

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)