NC school board to sue over law giving superintendent power

Photo Credit: Kristine Bellino
Photo Credit: Kristine Bellino

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s appointed statewide school board said Wednesday it will file a lawsuit challenging a new law transferring much of its authority over public schools educating 1.5 million students to the elected superintendent.

“The State Board of Education today authorized its attorneys to move forward with a constitutional challenge” against the law passed by the state legislature two weeks ago, state school board Chairman Bill Cobey said in a statement.

The new law gives state schools Superintendent Mark Johnson more control over the state’s education budget, oversight of charter schools and authority to hire senior-level aides.

The law also allows Johnson alone to hire, fire and set the salary for the person picked to run a new school district to be made up of some of the state’s lowest-performing schools. Those powers were previously left to the State Board of Education.

Educators and local school boards have criticized this summer’s legislative creation of a five-school “Achievement School District” for schools that have consistently shown poor growth and performance. The executive now left to Johnson to choose would sign contracts with charter companies that could hire and fire teachers without input or evaluations from local school boards.

Cobey, most members of the General Assembly and the newly elected Johnson are all Republicans. But many members of the school board will likely be replaced by Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper, who takes office Sunday.

 

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