Ousted Board of Education members to sue Gov. Beshear

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Governor Andy Beshear is threatened with a lawsuit after issuing his first executive order on his first day on the job.

Beshear kept a campaign promise and reorganized the Kentucky Board of Education.  He disbanded the eleven member board appointed by former governor Matt Bevin and appointed new members who support public education.

According to the Courier Journal, the newly ousted members planned to sue Beshear, claiming it’s a violation of state law to get rid of them without just cause before their terms expire.

The newspaper report says the board members backing the suit were appointed by former Governor Matt Bevin.

Amanda Stamper, a former spokeswoman for the Bevin administration, is the only ousted member whose name was not included in a media release about the complaint, according to the Courier Journal.

Gary Houchens, an associate professor at Western Kentucky University, was among those ousted from the board. He told the Courier Journal that Beshear’s actions go against the spirit of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990, which set out to protect the state’s public schools from the whims of partisan politics.

According to the Courier Journal, in 2016, Bevin issued an executive order to abolish the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Beshear, the attorney general at the time, filed a lawsuit against the Bevin administration over the matter, saying it was overstepping its authority.

A Franklin County Circuit Court judge approved a temporary action against Bevin’s actions, according to the Courier Journal, and in 2017, the Kentucky Supreme Court dismissed Beshear’s lawsuit after the General Assembly passed a law that overhauled the U of L board and clarified the governor’s ability to modify university boards.

The newspapers say that when Bevin used an executive order to dissolve and appoint new members the state’s education professional standards board in 2018, judges decided the governor was within his right to do so.

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