Oversight changes to North Carolina schools for deaf, blind go to governor

Published 3:17 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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The North Carolina General Assembly approved again on Tuesday legislation changing the governance of the state’s two residential schools for the deaf and one for the blind.

Last summer, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a similar measure that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper successfully vetoed, calling it unconstitutional based on an imbalanced makeup of proposed trustee boards that would have been created.

This year’s bill, which received a final vote in the Senate on Tuesday, still would give the General Assembly power to appoint four of the five positions on the proposed boards for each school. The remaining board member would be appointed by the State Board of Education, to which the governor names nearly all voting members.

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Republicans now hold larger seat margins in the House and Senate compared to last year, making it easier for them to override a Cooper veto. Including a House vote earlier this month, five Democrats joined all Republicans voting in approving the measure.

State education officials and agencies currently oversee the governance and administration of the schools, including staff appointments. The measure heading to Cooper’s desk would give the schools’ boards authority to hire directors, employ staff and develop admissions eligibility standards.