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Three-judge panel rules in favor of State Superintendent

A three-judge panel granted a motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit between the State Board of Education and State superintendent Mark Johnson, saying the Board failed to show the law that transferred power to Johnson was unconstitutional. 

The State Board filed the suit after the General Assembly shifted some authority from the Board to the Superintendent in House Bill 17, passed during last year’s short session. The law makes Johnson the chief authority of the Department of Public Instruction, a role previously held by the State Board. 

It also grants the superintendent direct supervision and administration of the public school system,  a concept that was at the crux of the arguments laid out in court today.  

Judges Forrest Bridges, James Ammons Jr., and Martin McGee heard arguments at the end of June. 

Today’s decision included a 60-day continuation of the temporary injunction that prevented the law from taking effect. The State Board may appeal. 


Laura Lee

Laura Lee is the former content director and managing editor for EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Born and raised in Union County, North Carolina, Laura attended Benton Heights Elementary School, Unionville Elementary School, Charlotte Latin Middle School, and Piedmont High School. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies. After graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked as an educator with a civic education organization and then as a program administrator for two Fulbright grant programs.

She received her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 2007. In law school, she served as president of the Student Bar Association and was a Davis Society inductee. She also holds a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Laura briefly strayed from her Tar Heel allegiance in 2011 to obtain a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland where she was an Eleanor Merrill Fellow. She then worked at NPR producing content for the Washington desk, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation

From 2013 to 2017, Laura oversaw daily production of North Carolina Public Radio WUNC’s The State of Things, first as assistant news director for talk programming and then as managing editor.