Gov. Matt Bevin could have a significant impact on K-12 education policy in Kentucky when in the next few weeks he makes several appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education and the Education Professional Standards Board.
Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, noted on that group's website that the shift was about to take place.
Jessica Ditto, a spokeswoman for Bevin, told the Herald-Leader that “candidates are being interviewed and will be appointed in the next couple weeks.”
A lack of action during the 2016 General Assembly on behalf of the Senate — which has to approve appointments to the boards — means the governor will be making appointments to nearly half of the seats on both boards, Hughes said.
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“That’s potentially new faces and new priorities,” said Hughes. That could mean, for example, that five new appointed state education board members would be more in favor of charter schools, a priority of Bevin’s that failed in the 2016 General Assembly, he said.
The Kentucky Board of Education has 12 members. The governor appoints 11 voting members, seven representing the Supreme Court districts and four representing the state at large.
The additional member, the president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, serves as a non-voting member.
The members serve four-year terms and may be reappointed.
Kentucky Board of Education members whose terms expired on April 14, according to the Kentucky Department of Education website, include Leo Calderon of Edgewood in Kenton County, an administrator at Northern Kentucky University; Debra Cook of Corbin, a former member of the Corbin Independent Board of Education; Sarah Ford of Owensboro, a construction contracting executive; and David Karem of Louisville, executive director of the city’s Waterfront Development Corporation.
Although Ford’s term expired April 14, the Senate confirmed her reappointment the following day.
But the Senate did not confirm the reappointment of Susan Edington of Madisonville, a faculty member at Murray State University’s Madisonville campus, Hughes said.
All five were appointed by former Gov. Steve Beshear.
Edington was appointed by Beshear for a four-year term to expire April 14, 2018. Because the Senate did not confirm her appointment, under state law Edington’s seat became vacant automatically when the legislative session adjourned at midnight April 15.
Hughes said whatever appointments Bevin makes will stand until the 2017 General Assembly when the Senate will decide whether to confirm the appointments.
Hughes said Kentucky educators watch appointments to the Education Professional Standards Board as closely as appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education.
The Education Professional Standards Board is responsible for issuing and renewing certificates for all Kentucky teachers and administrators, according to its website. The board can revoke certifications. The staff works closely with local school districts in the hiring process to help ensure a properly credentialed educator in every professional position in Kentucky public schools. The staff also works with Kentucky colleges and universities, out-of-state institutions, and national evaluation agencies on the preparation of Kentucky certified educators.
Eight of the 17 members of the state Education Professional Standards Board board of directors, like Edington, lost their seats immediately when the 2016 General Assembly session ended, Hughes said.
He said the Senate did confirm one current member of the Education Professional Standards Board, Campbellsville University Vice President of Academic Affairs Donna Hedgepath.