N.C. State Board Sues Legislature Over New Superintendent Powers

By Daarel Burnette II — December 29, 2016 1 min read
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North Carolina’s appointed school board members said Wednesday they will file a lawsuit against the state’s legislature over HB 17, which gives significantly more power to the state’s elected superintendent over department staff and state education policy, according to the Associated Press.

Last week, the state’s Republican-dominated legislature passed in a special session a bill that stripped the board of many of its powers and handed them, instead, to recently elected Republican Superintendent Mark Johnson. Outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, later signed the bill.

The new law will place most of the state education department under the state superintendent’s control, rather than under the state school board, the members of which are appointed by the governor. The superintendent will be able to oversee the state’s office of charter schools, appoint the superintendent of the state’s turnaround district, and hire and fire officials within the education department. Several other tasks historically given to the state board of education also would fall under the state superintendent.

Recently elected Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will appoint all of his own state board members.

The board said its attorneys will file a lawsuit that argues that the state’s constitution places many of those powers under the state’s board of education.

On Thursday, a judge halted the law from going into effect until the lawsuit is heard in court.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.