The North Carolina Supreme Court granted a petition to hear the lawsuit filed by the State Board of Education against State Superintendent Mark Johnson. The Court will address the claims in the year-long legal battle over whether the legislature’s transfer of power to Johnson was constitutional.
The suit was filed in response to the General Assembly’s passage of House Bill 17 which gave Johnson control and direction over the Department of Public Instruction. Previously, the Board had the final say on many matters and delegated their authority to the superintendent where they deemed appropriate.
In July, a three-judge panel granted summary judgment in favor of Johnson, saying the Board failed to show the transfer of power to Johnson was unconstitutional. The Board appealed the decision which State Board Chair Bill Cobey called “inexplicable.”
In an interview this fall, Johnson said the Board is hindering change. “The State Board of Education is tying my hands in court in order to protect the status quo,” he said. “Anyone that is defending the status quo, I will make sure that we move them out of the way and we bring positive transformation for this education system.”
The three-judge panel granted and then extended a stay that allowed the Board to remain in control while the case is appealed. The Supreme Court granted a stay in October, permitting the Board to retain its authority until the case is heard. The case bypassed the Court of Appeals when the Supreme Court elected to review it.