KEA:Bevin's board changes 'back-door political maneuvering' to oust education commissioner
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky Education Association is calling Gov. Matt Bevin's move to appoint seven new members to the state Board of Education "back-door political maneuvering" to oust the state's education commissioner.
In a late afternoon Facebook post that was later revised, KEA questioned Bevin's decision and the calling of a special meeting Tuesday to elect new leaders and then hold an executive session to discuss "the appointment, discipline or dismissal of an individual employee."
The governor's appointments to the board of education include his Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner and his former communications director, Amanda Stamper.
"We believe that Heiner will be elected KBE Chair tomorrow and will immediately move to fire Commissioner of Education Dr. Stephen Pruitt," the KEA said in the Facebook post encouraging followers to take action. "If you believe as we do that Dr. Pruitt has been a strong and effective advocate for public schools and public school teachers and should continue to serve as our Commissioner, please share the image below."
The education commissioner can only be hired and fired by the board of education. In his move Monday, Bevin replaced the remaining seven board members appointed by former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.
In 2015, the board appointed Pruitt, a Georgia native, to the post. Before coming to Kentucky, Pruitt was senior vice president of a Washington-based nonprofit education reform organization called Achieve, Inc.