Organized by the Kentucky Education Association, the rally will challenge projected drastic cuts that are expected in education spending due to the state's budget uncertainty. The two local districts will join over 70 others on the steps of the state capitol at 1 p.m. today to urge legislators to keep education funds affluent.
Harlan County Schools Superintendent Tim Saylor has been working for several months organizing a caravan representing his district to travel to Frankfort.
"We need to speak up and be heard," Saylor said earlier this year during a school board meeting. "We go down there in masses, they understand that talk."
David Johnson, superintendent of the Harlan Independent School District, said education systems across the state will not be able to absorb such drastic cuts.
"Our district has absorbed this year's losses without a noticeable affect on the schools," Johnson said. "I don't think we can do that next year with such large cuts. We will have to look at more serious changes. Everything will be on the table for consideration."
Classes in both districts will be closed today, allowing teachers, support staff and other interested participants to take part in the rally.
The Harlan County School District's caravan was scheduled to leave the central office parking lot at 7:30 this morning, which followed a 7 a.m. rally in front of the board of education office.
Plans for the rally began as early as last year when the KEA Board of Directors drafted its plan of action to lobby for increased educational funding. Board members claim an increase in funding is needed to allow Kentucky's public school systems to raise employee salaries, solve problems with the state health insurance program and to provide for school district infrastructure, maintenance and other school support services.
The Harlan Independent District stands to lose more than $198,000 this year and $355,000 next year. The county district is scheduled for cuts amounting to approximately $1,144,000 this year and more than $2 million for the next.