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NC Board of Education, Superintendent Mark Johnson to return to court later this week

The North Carolina Board of Education and State Superintendent Mark Johnson will be back in court Thursday.

The three-judge panel that ruled in favor of Johnson in a lawsuit over a transfer of power from the Board will hear a motion for a temporary stay pending the Board’s appeal. According to the motion, counsel for both parties spent six weeks trying to come to an agreement for a temporary stay but were unsuccessful.

“The parties could not have tried any harder to reach an agreement, and the Board commends the SPI, the SPI’s in-house counsel, and the SPI’s outside counsel for their diligence and professionalism throughout the course of these lengthy discussions,” it states.

When the court initially rendered its decision in the lawsuit, the judges stayed it for 60 days. The deadline for that stay is Sept. 12, so the Board will be asking for an extension in court Thursday.

Without a temporary stay pending the Board’s appeal, the law in question that transfers power from the Board to Johnson 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 motion states.

“This seismic shift will generate enormous disruption for our State’s public schools” the motion adds. “Worse, this seismic shift would occur overnight, without any transition period whatsoever.”

The Board gave examples, including that Johnson would be immediately be empowered to unilaterally fire over a thousand state employees, including key senior policymaking leaders. It said Johnson also could immediately decide whether certain state public school system positions should be exempt from state personnel laws, execute new statewide contracts for the public school system, and jeopardize the Board’s ability to manage more than 150 existing contracts involving tens of millions of dollars.

You can read the full motion here.

The court hearing will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday in courtroom 10C at the Wake County Courthouse.

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