Campbell Superintendent: Teachers Need to Hear from Legislators About Possible Vetoes
Open Letter to Kentucky Legislators:
I am drafting this letter to every legislator in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In particular, I seek to reach those who serve me locally as a resident of the City of Independence and as the superintendent of Campbell County Public Schools: Sen. Damon Thayer, Sen. Wil Schroder, Sen. Chris McDaniel, Rep. Kim Moser, Rep. Dennis Keene, and Rep. Joe Fischer.
I have watched and participated in the discourse regarding the bills specific to schools and pensions during this legislative session. I feel as if I have had to spend more time addressing proposed legislation than instruction in my school district. This has been frustrating. Not seeing action for the first part of the session as you waited for the filing deadline to pass has put us in this impossible position, lacking time to legislate responsibly and transparently. I am frustrated by the way this session progressed and by the lack of professional, democratic leadership that Kentucky so desperately needs and deserves.
My teachers and staff are of the highest quality in the state. Our kids receive great instruction and social-emotional support on a daily basis. But, teachers are distracted. They are distracted by you, your rhetoric, and your actions. They are fearful. They are fearful of changes to their pensions and the pensions of their future colleagues. They are disappointed by the lack of a promise from you for future educators, and what that will mean for their profession and their workplace. They are fearful of the increased financial burden placed on local school districts by the shifting of costs from the state to local taxpayers. They are afraid of a lack of a budget that makes investments in our kids, our teachers, our schools, and our communities. They are fearful of consequences resulting in cuts to programs and staff needed to provide a world-class education for our students. They are most fearful of a governor who has insulted them, devalued them, and attacked their noble profession.
Teachers and school districts are discussing the urgent need to send you a message, to pass the budget by overriding the governor’s veto. Teachers are discussing their desire to be heard and to march on Frankfort on Friday to convince you of their resolve. I am sending this letter to encourage you to override the governor’s vetoes of the budget and revenue bills.
As much as we have disagreed with some of you during this legislative session, we are compelled to encourage you to act. But, teachers are not confident that the General Assembly will bridge this current impasse. Educators have not heard from legislative leadership. What are you doing? Do you have the votes? Can we be confident that you will act in the best interest of the Commonwealth and pass the budget and necessary revenue increases to properly fund our investments, obligations, and services? We need to hear from you! My district will receive cuts under the new budget, but no budget is a far worse option. We need to hear from you and we need you to act!
As a school district superintendent, I do not want to close school on Friday. I want our teachers working with kids. I want field trips to continue. I want you to assuage their fears. I want you to let them know that you have the votes and they can trust that you will act on their and their students’ behalf. Your silence in deafening. As superintendent of Campbell County Public Schools, I’m am asking you. Let us hear from you by Thursday and see you act on Friday, so that we can focus on the work of educating our kids.
Dr. David A. Rust, Superintendent
Campbell County Schools