Andy Beshear wasted no time heating things up on his first day as governor.
Beshear used an executive order to make good on a campaign promise to replace the Kentucky Board of Education. He also said he will file another executive order Thursday to restore voting rights to non-violent felons.
The new governor appointed the following members to the state school board: 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.
Editor's Note: The third page of the executive order names Morehead resident Allison Slone as an ex officio nonvoting member of the board. She is a teacher at McBrayer Elementary School.
"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," he said.
Members of the Kentucky Board of Education, individually and in unison, announced Tuesday they are filing a motion to challenge the executive order that seeks to remove all current KBE members without cause.
“We strongly feel that this action by the governor is of questionable legality and must be tested in the courts,” said KBE member Gary Houchens in a release. “Unlike other Kentucky government boards, the make-up of the KBE is governed by the Kentucky Education Reform Act, which provides a clear process for a new governor to appoint new members to the KBE on a staggered basis, every two years. Board members today are seeking to set aside the governor’s order and allow an orderly transition of board control over a two-year period, as intended by KERA.”
Houchens said the goal of the motion is to work cooperatively with the new governor and continue the momentum already in place.
In their full statement, the board believes the only rationale for their removal is the support of charter schools.
"This rationale does not constitute legal cause for removal. And while it is true that many of us do believe all families, including those of modest means, should have options in who educates their children, charter schools have hardly been a major focus of this board," the statement reads.
Eddie Campbell, president of the Kentucky Education Association, said the KEA supports 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," he said in a release. "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.”