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Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt Resigns

Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky Board of Education has voted to accept the resignation of Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt. The board's decision comes one day after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin replaced most of the board with new members. 

The appointments mean everyone on the board has now been chosen by Bevin, who took office in December 2015. Wayne Lewis was named the interim commissioner with a salary of $150,000.

Pruitt has been commissioner since September 2015. Bevin said Tuesday before the board's vote he was unhappy with the state's recent decline in test scores but said the decision to keep Pruitt was up to the board.

Kentucky Democratic Party Spokesman Brad Bowman said if Bevin’s office was sincere about strengthening education it wouldn’t “stack the Board of Education with pro-charter school appointees.”

House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins said in a release:

“Today’s resignation of Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt is a sad day for public education and the children of Kentucky. This is just another attempt by Governor Bevin to weaken and dismantle Kentucky’s education system and implement his agenda of charter schools. Commissioner Pruitt has done a great job of keeping our schools on course academically and building the type of relationships we expect this office to have with our local school officials. This backhanded move appears to undermine that work, all in the name of moving public-education dollars from the public classrooms to the for-profit classrooms of charter schools.”

This story has been updated.

Nicole Erwin is a Murray native and started working at WKMS during her time at Murray State University as a Psychology undergraduate student. Nicole left her job as a PTL dispatcher to join the newsroom after she was hired by former News Director Bryan Bartlett. Since, Nicole has completed a Masters in Sustainable Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she lived for 2 1/2 years.
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