Protesters demanding more education funding wait on the Capitol steps in April 2018. | Photo by Olivia Krauth

After a late-night surge in teacher call-ins, Jefferson County Public Schools will be closed Wednesday for the second teacher ‘sickout’ in less than a week.

A group of district educators, diverging from the larger KY 120 United movement, urged their peers to call in sick to protest scholarship tax credit legislation. At least 900 JCPS teachers had called off around midnight, growing to the point that the district could not cover all absences by 5 a.m.

The legislation, House Bill 205, did not receive a committee vote Tuesday, leaving its future as a standalone bill uncertain. But educators fear the language will be tacked onto House Bill 354, a tax bill being hashed out by lawmakers in a concurrence period Wednesday.

Wednesday’s sickout is the second in less than a week, following a sickout that closed seven other districts last Thursday. That wave of closures was sparked by a bill proposing changes to the teachers’ pension board, which passed committee but has stalled since.

District leaders and educators across the state have criticized tax credits for much of the last week, arguing the school choice bill would pull money from already underfunded districts. All 173 superintendents, including JCPS’ Marty Pollio, oppose the measure.

KY 120 United leaders did not call for a sickout Wednesday, instead pushing teachers to call lawmakers. A group of JCPS employees who broke away from the movement partially over concerns of not pushing against legislators enough has been independently calling for their own sickouts over the past week.

That group, dubbed JCPS Leads, also unsuccessfully called for sickouts on Friday and Monday.