by Sam Hieb
At this week’s meeting of the North Carolina Board of Education, two new officers were unanimously elected—former Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member Eric Davis was elected chairman while former Guilford County school board chairman Alan Duncan was elected vice chair.
But it was not all business—board members took the opportunity to spar with Superintendent Mark Johnson over who has true control of the state’s public schools:
Board members fought back at this week’s two-day meeting, publicly questioning decisions Johnson has made, such as using $6 million in state funding to purchase iPads for K-3 literacy teachers without notifying the board. The board also adopted new rules Thursday about their own authority and the superintendent’s authority. Johnson opposed them.
“We have a constitutional management oversight responsibility, and frankly it’s quite embarrassing when our constituents ask us about expenditures that we’re not aware of from the department that we oversee,” state board member Eric Davis said Wednesday of the iPad purchases.
As the News & Observer’s T. Keung Hui reports, this week’s meeting was the final one for board members Greg Alcorn, Bill Cobey and Becky Taylor, who all resigned their seats early. As a result, Gov Roy Cooper will appoint their replacements next year, and indeed it will be interesting to see how quickly –if at all—the appointees are confirmed by the legislature.