Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt resigns post after pressure from Bevin appointed board of education

04/17/2018 08:30 PM

Dr. Stepehen Pruitt, the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, resigned his post on Tuesday after two-years in the role, one day after Gov. Bevin appointed multiple new members to the Kentucky Board of Education, which oversees Pruitt.

Pruitt was appointed to the post shortly before Bevin took office. The Board of Education named Wayne Lewis, a charter schools advocate, as the interim commissioner.

New Bevin appointed members were sworn in the special meeting held Tuesday, which remained in executive session at least four hours.

Bevin appointed former political rival Hal Heiner to the board of education on Monday, on the same day he resigned as the cabinet Secretary of Education and Workforce Development. The Republican governor also appointed his former communications director Amanda Stamper on Monday.

The Board is comprised of 11 voting members, each appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms, as well as the president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, who serves in an ex-officio non-voting capacity.

The Kentucky Democratic Party quickly responded to the public education shake-up with a statement from their spokesperson.

“If Gov. Bevin and the Republican majority were sincere about strengthening education for all of Kentucky students, they wouldn’t starve our local school districts and stack the Board of Education with pro-charter school appointees,” Brad Bowman, spokesperson for the Kentucky Democratic Party said. “Today, they have continued their war on public education. We can’t fill the achievement gap by widening the state’s funding gaps for our schools. Education Commissioner Dr. Stephen Pruitt’s resignation is just another step by this administration and the Republican majority to steal public money and funnel it into the hands of a for-profit industry.”

Earlier Monday, at a press conference honoring Heiner upon his departure from the cabinet, Bevin said he had not instructed board members to orchestrate Pruitt’s ouster, adding that he liked the commissioner, but acknowledging the two rarely communicated.


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