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Bill 'De-Politicizing' Kentucky Education Board Draws Fire Over Teacher, Student Seats

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A bill reshaping the composition of Kentucky's board of education cleared the state Senate Monday, but it was the removal of two non-voting members that grabbed the most attention.

Recently created non-voting seats -- one for a public school teacher and another for a high school student -- are not included in the new proposed makeup of the board. The move prompted a backlash from teacher and student groups, culminating in the #SaveOurSeats campaign.

Lexington Democrat Reggie Thomas said the two groups should have a role in the decision-making process at the state level.

"Those constituencies ought to be represented and their voices ought to be heard because they have the most at stake when we talk about education," he said.

What the bill does mandate is proportional political and minority representation, along with generally equal gender membership, on the panel.

Proponents say the measure is a move toward depoliticizing the board, which has been at the center of political fights over charter schools and commitments to public education.

The bill is now headed back to the House.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.