“There is a Fresh New Breeze Blowing” was the theme of Professional Educators of Fayette County (PEFC) that was one of two organizations that led to the formation of Kentucky Association of Professional Educators (KAPE).  In July of 1973, PEFC became the voice for nearly 250 educators in Fayette County under the leadership of Mrs. Glenna Blevins.  (Mrs. Blevins eventually became a State Representative of Kentucky.)  The driving force and mission of PEFC was to preserve the public’s control of public schools through local school boards rather than having final decisions determined by an outside source as was occurring as a result of the union movement sweeping across school districts throughout the country in this era.  PEFC was not anti-union; they simply believed that since public schools were dependent upon taxpayer dollars, the union concept was not appropriate.  PEFC also advocated for educators to have a choice in their professional organization.  As is true of KAPE today, PEFC was active in the state legislature to ensure that educators have a choice for an organization that was also free of political influence.    PEFC held a commitment to constructive legislation for improved teaching conditions, competitive salaries, and excellence in education for students at every level. These philosophies have remained as a common thread as PEFC eventually evolved to become KAPE.

 During the subsequent four years, the issue of collective bargaining was a steadfast topic of discussion in school districts throughout the United States.  Teacher strikes became increasingly common.  In Fayette County, the topic remained a volatile topic of discussion in the Lexington Herald and also the Lexington Leader, in schools, at school board meetings, and among the members of the two main teacher organizations of the day.  FCEA (Fayette County Education Association) and PEFC (Professional Educators of Fayette County).

 In 1977, the Fayette County School Board voted to establish a bargaining process in order to negotiate a contract for school employees and to allow an opinion poll of educators on which group should represent them in this process with the school board.  In response, the community and numerous educators, many of whom were members of PEFC, formed the group, Preserve our Schools (POS) under the leadership of community member, David Chittenden.  In March of 1977, Mr. Chittenden, and IBM engineer, along with his wife, Jane Chittenden, and Marilyn Hitchner, both teachers in Fayette County, filed a class action lawsuit against the exclusivity of allowing a single organization to represent school employees in bargaining and in protest of the legality of the polling conducted.  

 The case was heard by then Fayette County Circuit Court Judge Armand Angelluci.  Judge Angelluci ruled that while the school board has the right to collectively bargain with school teachers, it was not obligatory.  Moreover, he ruled that teachers could select an organization to represent them in the process with each organization having an equal voice in collective bargaining.  

 However, the Fayette County School Board voted to approve only one teacher organization to represent educators in the collective bargaining process and to develop a 54 page contract.  Mrs. Mildred McMurtry, then the President of PEFC, joined POS, to voice concern over the legality of this contract given the fact that only one teacher organization was allowed input.  On December 9th, PEFC and Independent Educators of Fayette County, both representing their members, along with two parents and an individual teacher filed a lawsuit regarding the legality of the contract given the exclusivity of representation.  In the same time period, elections were held for two of the school board member positions with the outcome being that two pro-collective bargaining, pro-union members were replaced by two members that opposed collective bargaining in a business funded by tax payer monies.  By the following school year, the contract was declared null and void.

 The upcoming decades were characterized by a gradual evolution in the name of Professional Educators of Fayette County.  With growth in membership in Fayette County along with resultant expanse into other counties throughout the state, Kentucky Association of Professional Educators was formed.  Through the years and name changes, KAPE has remained an independent organization protecting teachers and actively participating in education based actions in the state legislation while remaining independent of any single political viewpoint or organization.  As well, providing affordable liability coverage to education professionals has remained of paramount importance.