UPDATE | Judge denies motion to halt reorganization of Ky. Board of Education
A Franklin County Circuit Court judge has denied a motion filed by previously appointed board members of the Kentucky Board of Education seeking an injunction that would halt a reorganization of the state's education board.
On his first day in office, Gov. Andy Beshear reorganized the state board of education and appointed new members that he says are committed to making schools better.
The board members removed through the order filed a lawsuit, saying the reorganization was out of the governor's authority, saying board members could only be removed from their positions "for cause."
In his analysis, however, Judge Thomas Wingate disagreed, saying "the various education boards at issue fall within the ambit of the Governor's temporary-reorganization-outside-of-session power…"
The decision is expected to be appealed.
Just hours into his administration, Gov. Andy Beshear signed his first executive order, replacing the Board of Education appointed by former governor Matt Bevin.
Amid divisive issues such as pension reforms for teachers, Beshear's campaign focused heavily on promises to reorganize the state's education board, a hot-button issue raised after Bevin and Education Commissioner Dr. Wayne Lewis championed charter schools.
The new members are: Holly Bloodworth, Patrice McCrary, Mike Bowling, Sharon Porter Robinson, Lu Young, JoAnn Adams, Cody Pauley Johnson, Lee Todd, David Karem, Claire Batt, and Alvis Johnson.
Karem, who retired earlier this year as Louisville's Waterfront Development president, will serve as the board's chairperson until the members elect a permanent one.
"These members were not chosen by any partisan affiliation but based on their commitment to make our schools better, to put our children first," Beshear said.
Moments after the announcement was made at the Capitol, KBE announced it will file a lawsuit against Beshear, challenging his attempt to remove the board before terms are set to expire.
In one of his first moves in office, newly inaugurated Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear decided Tuesday to overhaul the Kentucky Board of Education.
That prompted one member to announce plans to file a lawsuit, claiming the matter wasn’t handled legally.
Rich Gimmel, a KBE member, released the following statement Tuesday:
“Obviously the governor has the right to appoint any person to the board who meets the qualifications. But this needs to be done legally.
“There is an established, orderly process for board transition that is spelled out in state law. That process has been followed by every governor since KERA was passed in 1990, until now.
“We were hopeful the new governor would make good on his promise to change the tone in Frankfort and create a more cooperative atmosphere, welcoming and respecting various viewpoints.
“He doesn’t appear to be off to a particularly good start in that effort.”
Eddie Campbell, president of the Kentucky Education Association, released the following statement after Beshear’s inauguration:
“The KEA supports Governor Beshear’s decision to reconstitute the Kentucky Board of Education. Under the previous Administration, board appointees were based more on political pedigree than on their experience and knowledge of educational issues. We have confidence that the Beshear Administration will make appointments based on merit, and choose board members who possess a foundational understanding of the challenges facing public education in the Commonwealth. The students of Kentucky deserve a board of education that works for the improvement of public education and not for partisan purposes.”
Beshear, a Democrat who narrowly defeated former Gov. Matt Bevin in last month's general election, was inaugurated Tuesday as the Commonwealth's 63rd governor.