Teachers torn between their retirement, your child’s education

The current pension crisis in Kentucky has lawmakers scrambling to come up with the money promised to state employees, an estimated debt of more than $30 billion.

The situation has local teachers, like Crystal Culp, feeling torn between their retirement and your child’s education.

"Teachers have not created this problem," says Culp. "Legislators, who we elect and then pay to do a job, aren’t fulfilling their commitment that they made."

Culp has been a teacher for the past 19 years, 14 of which she’s spent teaching at a local juvenile detention center, and she’s seen first hand how a great education can turn someone’s life around.

"We don’t want students to have to pay more in tuition, but we also want to be able to get them to the point where they can go to college, and that’s K-12 education," says Culp.

She’s worried the current pension crisis is going to steer people away from a career in teaching, impacting the growth of future public school students.

"Who are we going to draw into the profession if teacher pensions are not available to them?" says Culp.

Charlotte Benton is a retired teacher. She’s staying positive about the future of education despite what’s happening.

"I think teachers always have at the forefront the interest of the students is what they do, more so than for themselves," says Benton.

However, it’s the commitment that was already made to state employees that has so many people, including Culp, upset with Kentucky lawmakers.

"The money has to come from somewhere," says Culp. "It’s not my job to decide, because I’m not a legislator."

She’s hoping they’ll come up with a solution before the session ends on Tuesday.

Gov. Matt Bevin also says he hopes lawmakers can pass a budget without an expensive special session. If lawmakers fail to pass a budget, portions of state government would shut down July 1.

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