Gov. Beshear reorganizes state board of education on day one in office, board sues

Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 3:28 PM EST
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Governor Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, is following through on a promise he made to voters.

On day one in office, Beshear reorganized the state board of education and appointed new members that he says are committed to making schools better.

"These members were not chosen based on any partisan affiliation but

based on their commitment to make our schools better, to put our children first," said Beshear.

Gov. Beshear appointed the following members: Holly Bloodworth, Patrice McCray, Mike Bowling, Sharon Porter Robinson, Lu Young, JoAnn Adams, Cody Pauley Johnson, Lee Todd, David Karem, Claire Batt and Alvis Johnson.

You can read the full executive order below.

The undersigned members of the board are filing a lawsuit against Beshear to challenge his executive order to remove the entire board before their terms expire.

The board believes the decision violates Kentucky law.

The statement reads: "The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the right of governors to reorganize state boards. But Kentucky law also explicitly carves out protections for members of the Kentucky Board of Education and the Council for Post-Secondary Education, stipulating that members of these boards may not be removed prior to the ends of their terms without cause."

The board believes Gov. Beshear's reason behind their removal is because the board supports public charter schools, but says "this rationale does not constitute legal cause for removal."

The current board members are Gary Houchens, Milton Seymore, Ben Cundiff, Tracy Cusick, Hal Heiner, Kathy Gornik, Alesa Johnson, Joe Papalia, Laura Timberlake and Rich Gimmel.

The Kentucky Education Association's president agreed with the decision in a statement sent to WKYT.

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 also said Kentucky teachers need to be paid a living wage, and he's including a $2,000 across-the-board raise for educators.

The governor also talked about restoring voting rights to non-violent felons with another executive order on Thursday, expanding Medicaid and pushing the commonwealth's economy forward.