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Supreme Court will hear State Board of Education, Superintendent case in February

Superintendent Mark Johnson (left) and State
Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey (right)

Here’s the major news of the day in North Carolina education: The N.C. Supreme Court will hear the State Board of Education’s ongoing case with Superintendent Mark Johnson and the N.C. General Assembly in February, WRAL reports [1].

The parties have been bickering since GOP lawmakers shifted power from the state board to the then newly-elected Republican in December 2016. The board is a panel of gubernatorial appointees that has often been at odds with the GOP-controlled legislature in recent years, although Johnson seems to have a more congenial relationship with lawmakers.

The February 7 hearing comes after a panel of judges sided with Johnson and the legislature in the power struggle last year.  [2]

From WRAL:

State board attorney Bob Orr told WRAL News on Thursday that the board looks forward to the Supreme Court hearing the case.

“We’re confident in our position,” Orr said.

In a statement Thursday, the superintendent said he “look(s) forward to the State Supreme Court upholding the lower court’s unanimous decision that allows for a system of great accountability at the Department of Public Instruction.”

“It is time to put this issue behind us so we can concentrate completely on the education of the students here in North Carolina,” Johnson said.

At stake is greater power for the superintendent’s office over the state’s public school budget, as well as expanded hiring and firing powers and control of the state charter office.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey called the 2016 law “unconstitutional,” [3] although Johnson has long supported the shift in powers.