FRANKFORT — Gov. Matt Bevin re-issued an executive order late Friday afternoon altering several education boards, just as his attorneys indicated he’d do in a letter earlier this week to Attorney General Andy Beshear.
But the changes made to the original June 2 order don’t appear likely to overcome Beshear’s objections that the orders exceed Bevin’s authority and abrogates constitutional powers of the legislature by ignoring existing statutes establishing the boards and setting out terms for the members.
A spokesman for Beshear said late Friday afternoon his staff is reviewing the new order.
The revised order does appear to address at least one criticism from Beshear. The June 2 order apparently did not require a majority of members on the State Advisory Panel on Exceptional Children to have disabilities or be parents of children with disabilities as required by federal law.
While the latest order still abolishes and then recreates that advisory panel, it now includes the requirement that a majority of its members be people with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities.
But the Friday order still abolishes four boards and removes their members before recreating new boards to which the governor — under the order — can appoint new members. Those are the School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council; the Educational Professional Standards Board; the Reading Diagnostic and Intervention Grant Steering Committee; and the State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education.
Those changes were among those Beshear listed as unacceptable in the first order in a letter Beshear sent Bevin telling the governor he’d challenge the order in court if Bevin didn’t rescind it.
Beshear delayed taking legal action, however, after Bevin’s General Counsel, Steve Pitt, earlier this week sent Beshear a letter indicating the governor would issue a revised order on Friday.
Friday’s order — like the June 2 version — also adds four non-voting members to the Kentucky Board of Education and creates a Charter Schools Advisory Council, one of whose members will be among the four new KBE members.
That nine-member council is to recommend regulations governing charter schools to KBE and to review charter school applications and recommend them to the KBE.
It also alters the make-up of the new Standards and Assessments Process Review Committee which was created only this spring as part of a Republican-sponsored education reform.
Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, took two years and significant negotiation with education stakeholders like the Kentucky Education Association and Kentucky School Boards Association to enact.
Bevin is altering that legislation’s organization almost before the ink is dry on the bill.
Friday’s order alters the Council on Postsecondary Education to include 15 members but retains current members until their terms expire.
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Follow him on Twitter @cnhifrankfort.