Judges Delay Giving NC Superintendent Control Over the Education Department

Judges Delay Giving NC Superintendent Control Over the Education Department

By T. KEUNG HUI AND LYNN BONNER – State Superintendent Mark Johnson will have to wait at least a month before gaining more control over the running of North Carolina’s public schools, a three-judge panel ruled Thursday. The judges agreed to continue delaying by 30 days its July ruling that upheld a state law that shifts more control over public education operations to Johnson. In requesting the stay, the State Board of Education had argued that letting the ruling go into effect now “will generate enormous disruption for our State’s public schools” – a charge denied by Johnson. “We are pleased the court has blocked this law for another month to allow the appellate courts to consider the case,” Bill Cobey, chairman of the state board, said in a statement. In a court filing, the board said the new law “will move the entire $10 billion public school system under the control of a single individual for the first time in North Carolina history.” The board also said the law empowered Johnson “to take drastic action,” such as unilaterally firing more than 1,000 employees at the state Department of Public Instruction. In an affidavit, Johnson said it would be false to say the law gives him sole control of the public school system. He also called the board’s statement that he could fire more than 1,000 people a “falsehood” and a “hysterical claim.” “I am disappointed by the court’s ruling today,” Johnson said in a statement. “Chairman Cobey and Vice Chair (A.L.) Collins are vigorously defending the status quo for our education system at the expense of students, educators, and taxpayers. “I am confident I will eventually...