A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bevin to appoint nearly half of state school board, professional standards board soon

By Brad Hughes
Special to KyForward

Gov. Matt Bevin is about to have a significant impact on elementary and secondary education policy direction in the Commonwealth when he makes multiple appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education and the Education Professional Standards Board.

And a lack of action during the 2016 General Assembly means the governor will be making appointments to nearly half of the seats on both bodies.

Gov. Matt Bevin

Gov. Matt Bevin

Four KBE members’ terms expired on April 14. They are:

· 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

· David Karem of Louisville, executive director of the city’s Waterfront Development Corporation.

The fifth seat that was up for appointment is that of Susan Edington of Madisonville, a faculty member at Murray State University’s Madisonville campus.

All five were appointed by former Gov. Steve Beshear. Calderon and Karem served full terms, while Cook, Edington and Ford were appointed to fill unexpired vacancies on the KBE.

All but Edington hold at-large seats on the KBE, meaning the appointee does not have to reside in any specific region of the state. Edington represented the 1st Supreme Court District of western Kentucky.

That’s where things get interesting.

Although Ford’s term expired April 14, the state Senate confirmed her appointment the following day. Typically, KBE members continue to serve until an appointment – either a replacement or an appointment to a new four-year term – is made by the governor.

Edington was appointed by Beshear for a four-year term to expire April 14, 2018. However, the Senate did not confirm her appointment. Therefore, under state law, Edington’s KBE seat became vacant automatically when the legislative session adjourned at midnight April 15.

Meanwhile, eight of the 17 members of the state Education Professional Standards Board board of directors, like Edington, lost their seats immediately when the 2016 session ended.

The Senate did confirm one current member, Campbellsville University Vice President of Academic Affairs Donna Hedgepath. That action also came on the final day of the session.

In response to a similar decision regarding Beshear appointments to the Public Service Commission, Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) told the Lexington Herald-Leader earlier this week that Bevin, who was sworn into office in December, “should not be handcuffed by prior appointments.”

The next KBE meeting is set for June 8 in Frankfort. At its subsequent retreat/meeting Aug. 3-4, the state board traditionally selects its leadership for the coming year. Roger Marcum of Bardstown currently serves as KBE chairman, while William Twyman of Glasgow is the vice chairman. Their terms on the state board run through April 2018, as do the terms of Grayson Boyd of Williamsport in Johnson County, Sam Hinkle of Shelbyville, Nawanna Privett of Lexington and Mary Gwen Wheeler of Louisville.

The next EPSB board meeting will be June 13 in Frankfort.

Brad Hughes is director of member support for the Kentucky School Boards Association and writes for its eNews service

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