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Community college president selection would need legislative approval under bill

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  • The Senate education committee approved an amendment Tuesday that would require the legislature's approval of the community college system president. #ncga #nced
  • The legislature would have the final say on who heads the community college system, House Bill 149 proposes.
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Any new president of the community college system would need approval from the General Assembly under a bill passed by the Senate education committee Tuesday.

The provision was added by Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Cumberland, in an amendment to House Bill 149, which extends a virtual charter school pilot and allows charter schools to have virtual academies.

The amendment would require the State Board of Community Colleges to submit the names of the person elected as president. The legislature would then confirm or deny through a joint resolution.

“We’ve had inconsistency in our president of our state community college system for several years now,” McInnis said. “It’s been a revolving door. We have some of the largest industrial corporations in the world that are coming to North Carolina. They’re expecting an educated and prepared workforce. We have to have certainty and continuity in our president of our system, and this will help bring that along.”

The State Board of Community College’s search committee met with the firm Buffkin/Baker for the first time in December, and posted the job for a new system president on Jan. 10 – listing a preferred start day of May 31, 2023. The presidential search follows former President Thomas Stith’s resignation in July. Stith was the sixth North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) president in seven years.

Sen. Natasha Marcus, D-Mecklenburg, said she opposed the amendment, which she had not seen before the committee meeting.

“It has nothing to do with this bill, and we’ve not seen it until right now,” Marcus said. “And it’s yet another power grab from the General Assembly over education matters that is very disturbing to me.”

The community college system office sent the following statement to EdNC on the amendment:

“As always, we will adhere to legislation enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly. The System and our 58 colleges are committed to providing education and skill development for the top state in the country for business.”

The bill now goes to the Senate rules committee. Read the full amendment below.

Liz Bell

Liz Bell is the early childhood reporter for EducationNC.