For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Contact: Dr. Gary Houchens (270) 799-9081 or Jim Waters (270) 320-4376
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – A hearing scheduled in U.S. District Court, 333 West Broadway St in Frankfort, on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 10 a.m. will consider a request for an emergency injunction to reverse Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order firing legally appointed Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) members whose terms have not expired and illegally – and unconstitutionally – seating new members without legislative approval.
Several of the ousted KBE members partnered with the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank, to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging Beshear’s actions to fire sitting board members without cause or due process.
“Gov. Beshear made it clear during his campaign that he wanted to fire state education board members because he disagrees with their support for education reform in general and school choice in particular,” Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters said. “They were ousted without cause, without due process and without opportunity to clear their good names which the governor drug through the political mud in his executive order.”
Attorney Steven J. Megerle, who represents the ousted KBE members, said he will ask U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove to reinstate his clients to the board pending full legal proceedings to take place at a later date.
“We look forward to vigorously challenging this governor’s arbitrary actions that he himself fought to prevent while he was Attorney General just a few months ago,” said Megerle, who also serves on the Bluegrass Institute Board of Directors. “We hope the General Assembly will remedy and prevent future unconstitutional actions.”
Lead plaintiff Dr. Gary Houchens warns that a failure to shield the board from partisan politics will undermine the fundamental intent of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1990, which sought to reduce political influence in the commonwealth’s Department of Education.
“Gov. Beshear’s executive order violates the spirit of KERA, overtly-politicizes the KBE and constitutes a political power grab specifically intended to be outlawed under KERA,” said Houchens, a member of the Bluegrass Institute Board of Scholars.
For more information, please contact Dr. Gary Houchens at (270) 799-9081 or Jim Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org, 859.444.5630 ext. 102 (office) or 270.320.4376 (cell).