What Happens To Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis With Beshear Taking Over?

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor-elect Andy Beshear plans to overhaul the Kentucky Board of Education once he takes over, which could mean Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis will be on his way out soon.

Lewis has been the commissioner since April 2018, when the previous commissioner Stephen Pruitt resigned. Governor Matt Bevin had enough of his appointees on the Board of Education by that point, so they could have gotten rid of him anyways without cause.

Lewis said Beshear would have to wait until he gets enough appointees to that board to make any changes, likely in a few years, unless he wants to be more aggressive.

“If he wanted to be more aggressive than that, then he would have to change Kentucky law,” Lewis said.

Beshear has said he could dissolve and remake the Board of Education, citing a court ruling from last year that allowed Bevin to do the same thing to other boards.

“I am still committed to creating a new Board of Education on day one as governor,” Beshear said Friday after announcing his transition team.

Beshear can’t directly fire Lewis, but the Board of Education can.

Lewis said he’s not going to worry about his job status.

“To be honest with you, that’s really not a big deal for me,” Lewis said. “I’ll show up every day and do my job as long as I’m here. If the law changes and the governor replaces the board and that board terminates me without cause, we abide by the terms of my contract and then I move on. I’ll be fine. Our concern is always just that whoever serves in this seat that they’re doing what’s right by Kentucky’s kids.”

Lewis’ contract runs until October 2020 and he said the board would have to give him 90 days notice before terminating his deal.