Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ray Corns Named Associate Commissioner

When Kevin Noland retired, it never occurred to me that KDE might find anyone with his depth of understanding of the major issue facing Kentucky schools - funding that is inadequate to reach the legislature's goals.

Then, wham. Judge Raymond Corns.

Corns will bring the proper judicial temperament to the issue. He understands what the courts can do to help the schools - and importantly, what they can't.

Along with former Governor (former federal judge, and Council for Better Education attorney) Bert Combs, Corns understood the tightrope Kentucky courts are on when directing the legislature.

In Rose v Council for Better Education, Combs wanted the court to direct the legislature to exercise their authority and proceed “as far as they can” to enact an efficient system of public schools. How far was that? Combs told the court, that they could say to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, “You can exercise your authority to propose legislation that is constitutional.” That would leave them knowing what the law is, and the governor would know, and the General Assembly would know.

Combs noted that nowhere in the original circuit court ruling did Corns’ direct the General Assembly to pass any particular laws, or derive school funding from any particular source, or to adopt any particular system. The circuit court went as far as it could go.

One wonders if Corns' good counsel might have produced a different result in the Young case.

He isn't replacing Noland who was a deputy, and he may lack a working knowledge of all of KERA's nooks and crannies, but he'll get there pretty quickly.

This looks like another solid choice by Draud.
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Ray Corns, the former Franklin County Circuit Court judge who issued the judgment that led to the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1990, has been named associate commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Legal, Legislative and Communications Services.

“Ray’s legal knowledge, combined with his experience in state and local government, will strengthen the agency’s ability to provide services to our constituents,” said Education Commissioner Jon E. Draud. “I’m very pleased that he agreed to join our team.”

“I look forward to working with Commissioner Draud and the Department of Education’s staff,” said Corns. “This is a wonderful opportunity to be directly involved in an area of great interest to me – public education.”

Corns most recently served with the Retired Judges Mediation and Arbitration Services. He also has served as Franklin County District Court judge, special circuit judge; assistant state treasurer, Kentucky public advocate, secretary of the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, commonwealth attorney and assistant state attorney general.

Corns was Franklin County Circuit Court Judge in 1985, when the
Council for Better Education filed suit challenging the equity and adequacy of
funds provided for public P-12 education in Kentucky. His 1988 judgment in the
case held that the General Assembly had failed to provide an efficient system of
common schools as mandated by the state Constitution and that the system of
school financing was inefficient and discriminatory. On appeal, the Kentucky
Supreme Court upheld the judgment, and the General Assembly began the work that led to KERA.

Corns earned a bachelor’s degree from Berea College and a juris doctorate from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

Corns began his duties on October 1. His salary has been set at $109,000.
SOURCE: KDE press release

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