Politics & Government

Judge halts the power transfer to the new state school superintendent

December 29, 2016 04:23 PM

A Wake County judge on Thursday halted any changes that would come with a new law transferring power from the State Board of Education to the new state superintendent.

The state board filed a lawsuit against the state on Thursday, claiming that the law is unconstitutional.

Wake Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens enjoined the law – stopping it from becoming effective – until a hearing next Friday.

State board members had considered suing since the legislature revealed a few weeks ago that it wanted to give more power to the new superintendent, Republican Mark Johnson. The legislature passed a law giving Johnson control of education department spending and staff.

Johnson defeated Democrat June Atkinson in November to win the job of running the state Department of Public Instruction. Republicans run both the education board and the legislature.

The suit says the constitution confers “broad, sweeping powers and duties to the Board,” while it has always confined the superintendent “to a limited role.”

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner