FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - 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.
Rich Gimmel, Kentucky Board of Education member released a statement on Tuesday’s executive order:
“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.”
Kentucky Board of Education Commissioner Dr. Wayne Lewis released a statement to WAVE 3 News Tuesday evening:
"Almost 650,000 students will walk into a Kentucky public school tomorrow. Every single instructional day matters for them. Regardless of what is happening politically, our focus should remain on them.
We will be communicating with newly appointed board members this evening and we will begin sharing pertinent information with them about the work of the board and the department in the coming days.”
The Board said it believes the executive order violates Kentucky law and protections given to the Kentucky Board of Education and Council for Post-Secondary Education by the Kentucky Supreme Court.