Forget, Where’s Waldo? Where’s the Sub?

For the last couple of years, FCEA has collaborated with the district’s Human Resources’ subdepartment on solutions to address the substitute teacher shortage in Fayette County. The demand for Special Education substitutes, in particular, was reaching a crisis point.

However, thanks to Superintendent Caulk’s and the FCPS Board of Education’s commitment, a $20.00 daily incentive is now being offered to substitute teachers and paraeducators who accept special education assignments. The board took this action on November 21.

For now, the pay is a short-term strategy that FCEA and FCPS Human Resources will revisit in January to examine its effectiveness. While we know the overall shortage is far from being solved, please know that our organization continues to advocate for its members.

Teacher Pension System Reform – How It Impacts You


Many teachers, especially young ones, don’t think much about their pension situation until 27+ years of service rolls around, and they begin considering retirement. However, if you’ve been following FCEA on Facebook and Twitter, or reading this newsletter, you realize the Teacher Retirement System of Kentucky isn’t in good shape after many years of underfunding by Kentucky’s governors and lawmakers.

So, what exactly does that mean for you?

Well, while the money poured into the pension system last year was much needed and appreciated, it still cannot make up for chronic underfunding. As a result, the governor, legislators, and others seem to be floating the idea of benefit cuts for current employees and retirees, as well as incoming new teachers. These possibilities include implementing 401K plans, increasing the retirement age for CURRENT employees, changes to retiree health care benefits, eliminating payment for sick days upon retirement, and more.

Some people have even suggested that the pension reform will be “painful” to everyone. In a recent interview, David Eager, the interim director for Kentucky Retirement Systems, discussed the KY pension systems. Around the 9:26 min. mark, he offers some specific glimpses into what may happen to teacher pensions with the “reform.”

However, FCEA wants to be clear that teachers and support staff have already felt pain through personal pension contributions of almost 13% and increased health care costs to ensure health care during retirement. These were compromises worked out some years back in an effort to get the system back on sound footing.

Legislators say they are waiting for more information from the Kentucky Retirement Systems’ audit report, which should be released soon. We’ll keep members updated on developments, but remember this … Kentucky educators get little to no Social Security benefits, and that includes spousal benefits, due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

Your pension will determine if you retire with dignity and security. Be ready to take action.

Charter Schools Coming to Lexington

As expected, charter school legislation has been filed for the January 2017 session, and


Kentucky is one of only eight states without charter schools.

there is every expectation some type of charter law will be implemented.

The first bill, and not likely to be the last one, was prefiled by  Senator Gerald Neal, D-Louisville. Under his proposal for a pilot program, the local school boards in Fayette and Jefferson counties would be able to approve two charter schools each year. To read more specifics, check out the Lexington Herald-Leader’s article here.

In preparation for the session, the Kentucky Board of Education has put together a list of guiding principles to guide lawmakers as they craft the new law. The principles emphasize schools run by nonprofits that are not religious in nature and whose funding does not come at the detriment of public schools. Click here to read more and see a complete list of the guidelines.

Since charter schools will soon be a reality for Fayette County, our organization will maintain a focus on advocating for strong charter school oversight and regulations and maintaining high levels of funding for true public school systems.

Christmas Parade 2016

Once again, the FCEA float —  accompanied by the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 — made its way through the streets of Lexington. Membfloat2ers volunteered their time to march in the parade handing out free bookmarks to children and spreading good cheer to all spectators.

Our sincere thanks goes out to the FCESPA, FCEA, and UK student members who marched, rode, decorated, supplied, and drove the float. Without them, the show cannot go on!




Legislative Session 2017 Gearing Up With Prefiled Bills

A number of proposed bills have already been prefiled in Frankfort in anticipation of the sbdmJanuary 2017 legislative session.

Among the bills are BR426 which would essentially kill school-based decision making councils and put the district in charge of establishing school policies, making personnel decisions, determining instructional materials and student support services, planning professional development, and filling principal vacancies. Councils would move into more of an advisory capacity. The bill also calls for K-5 schools to implement a School Wellness Plan and was filed by Senator John Schickel from Boone County.

For a list of other prefiled bills as of 12/12/2016, click  here. The legislative session begins January 3, 2017.