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Bevin Mum On Kentucky Education Commissioner Pruitt's Future

Gov. Matt Bevin
J. Tyler Franklin
Gov. Matt Bevin

The Kentucky Board of Education will hold a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.  The agenda includes a closed session to discuss personnel.

It’s expected that the board will discuss the future of state Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt.

Pruitt was hired by a board appointed by Republican Governor Matt Bevin’s predecessor, Steve Beshear, a Democrat.  Monday, Bevin appointed seven people to the board to replace Beshear appointees.

Bevin said Tuesday morning that he likes Pruitt personally, but is concerned that thousands of Kentucky students have fallen below academic proficiency over the last two years.

He wouldn’t say whether he expects the board to fire Pruitt.

“I just expect that they will do what is best for Kentucky and do what is best for the educational process here in Kentucky,” Bevin said. “I’m not a member of that board.  Whatever they determine to do I have confidence in them to make the right decisions.”

Bevin also said he has no plans to influence the board to order a state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools.   He says the board will make that decision after reviewing a pending audit.

Former Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner was among seven new members appointed by Bevin to the board Monday.

Heiner wouldn’t indicate if he would vote to fire Pruitt, but said he has concerns about the latest round of student assessments.

“And you see that in our elementary and middle schools, that we’ve had an additional 16,000 students around the state drop out of the category of either mastery or partial mastery of skills in reading and math, down into a category that has no mastery, not even a partial mastery of reading and math," Heiner said.

Bevin appointed Don Parkinson, former Secretary of the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet to replace Heiner as the interim Education and Workplace Development Secretary.

The meeting begins at 1:30pm Tuesday.


Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.