A group of more than 20 teachers stood outside Corbin Middle School Thursday morning carrying signs voicing their opposition to the pension reform bill currently making its way through the state legislature.
The teachers, which Principal Christi LeFevers said represented about one-third of the faculty at Corbin Independent Schools’ flagship building on Kentucky Avenue, stood on the sidewalk in front of the school in an effort to show the public their opposition to Senate Bill 1, known as the pension reform bill.
Numerous people honked their car horns as they drove by in support of the teachers, who chanted, “We’ll remember come November!”
The teachers were outside the school from 7:15 a.m. until 7:45 a.m., walking inside in time for the scheduled 7:50 a.m. start of classes.
At that same time, students who typically gather in the gymnasium or cafeteria as they arrive, began walking to their classrooms.
Teachers had said previously that their goal was not to disrupt classes, but to show the public their opposition to the legislation.
“I think we are becoming more united,” said Jorrita Addington, an 18-year veteran teacher, explaining that when she first came into the classroom, it was all about teaching, but now teachers are asked to be nurses, counselors, and potentially security guards.
LeFevers was outside near the teachers the entire time.
“I’m here to show support,” LeFevers said.
Similar demonstrations were held at the primary, elementary, intermediate and high schools.
Among the changes the bill would make to the existing pension is reducing the cost of living increase in teacher pension benefits from 1.5 percent to 1 percent.
In addition, the bill would move all future teachers and public employees from a traditional pension plan to a hybrid plan that combines aspects of a traditional pension plan and a 401K-type plan.
“We are not asking for more. We are just asking for what was promised,” said Sharron Oxendine, UniServ Director for the Kentucky Education Association office in Barbourville.