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Democratic Socialists Raising Funds for Teachers Who Engage in Sick-Outs or Work Stoppages

Kentucky chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America - including a Northern Kentucky chapter - are raising funds for teachers who engage in sick-outs or work stoppages in the coming weeks.

Educators returned to Frankfort on Friday to advocate for education funding as the General Assembly session nears its end. Lawmakers are considering an override of Governor Matt Bevin's vetoes of budget and tax bills.

Teachers' participation resulted again in the closure of local school districts including Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Erlanger-Elsmere, Southgate, Grant County, and Gallatin County (others are currently on spring break or opted to stay open).

In a news release, the Democratic Socialists said they hope to raise $25,000 through a Go Fund Me campaign.

As of 8:30 a.m. on Friday, the group had raised more than $9,000.

"The recent strikes by West Virginia and Oklahoma, along with the ongoing effort in Kentucky, are part of a rising wave of labor militancy triggered by harsh austerity and continued attacks on workers’ pay, benefits, and right to organize. Democratic Socialists recognize that it is important to materially support workers when they take action to demand better wages, benefits, and conditions," a news release said.

The funds would cover the costs of travel to rallies, meals for students, and food for school personnel participating in advocacy events, but not lost wages, the release said.

Teachers and other school personnel may apply for funds here:

The DSA presented these guidelines:

1. Every cent we raise will go to support teachers as well as certified and classified school district employees from counties/districts where all schools have been closed due to work stoppage. We will not keep any overhead.

2. Funds will be collected and distributed through Louisville DSA, with the process open to accountability between the leadership of Kentucky chapters of DSA.

3. Any remaining funds will be donated to a charitable organization serving children's needs, to be determined.

4. Applications will be reviewed based on the urgency of the need, how specific the request is, and how directly the request is connected to the strike. Priorities will include gas, meals for striking teachers and students out of school, water, sign making supplies. The suggested max request is $500.

5. Teachers and other school personnel may apply for funds, and should receive notification on funding decisions approximately 2 weeks after their application is submitted.  

6. We will verify that only certified and classified school district employees receive funds, and that need is documented.

7. Donations are not tax-deductible.

-Staff report