Budget Battle: Local Schools Close, Teachers Calling Out

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MADISON - Some major school districts in southern Wisconsin have closed their doors due to teachers calling out sick. 

The Glendale/River Hills, Racine, Beaver Dam and Watertown School District announced that they are following the Madison Metropolitan School District in closing schools' doors on Thursday.

Rick Monroe, the superintendent of the Nicolet Union High School district, clarified that the high school is open, unlike Glendale and River Hills school district.

Port Washington High School also was to close at 9:00 a.m. due to a "sick-out."

Madison schools are now closed for two straight days after a Wednesday closure due to too many teachers calling out sick.

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Click here for school district closings

Related audio: Click on the links below to hear Newsradio 620 WTMJ "Wisconsin Afternoon News" exclusive interviews about the budget/union bill
Governor Scott Walker
Madison Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach
Madison Teachers Union Executive Director John Matthews

It was believed that many were heading to the State Capitol to protest Governor Scott Walker's budget bill which would remove public worker unions' abilities to negotiate many of their benefits.

The Milwaukee Teachers Education  Association asked Milwaukee's school district to close, but MPS chose to stay open and directed teachers to work as usual.

About 420 MPS staff members called out sick on Thursday.

Cudahy's school district is also among many that have chosen to stay open.

The district did a call out to all the teachers, telling them not to call in sick, or they would be risking the safety of their students.

School official say that if they have to cancel school teachers, they will have to make up the day in June.

Still, the biggest teachers' union in the state is pushing for lawmakers not to pass the bill, and is encouraging teachers to speak out.

"This is not about protecting our pay and our benefits, it is about protecting our right to collectively bargain," said Mary Bell of WEAC.

Administrators admit they are keeping a very close eye on what happens in Madison.