State News

Perdue's first law revamps state education system

Posted March 4, 2009 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated March 4, 2009 12:11 p.m. EST

— Gov. Beverly Perdue signed her first bill into law Wednesday morning, restructuring the leadership of the state's public schools.

Perdue signed Senate Bill 198 in a ceremony in the Old House Chamber of the State Capitol.

The new law allows Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Bill Harrison to serve both as chairman of the State Board of Education and as chief executive of the Department of Public Instruction.

State lawmakers gave final approval to the bill Thursday. Previously, only one public school employee could serve on the board, but the change in the law will allow a second schools employee on the board.

"This new leadership structure will bring a clear line of accountability and efficiency for moving North Carolina’s public schools forward,” Perdue said in a statement. “Our schools can be the best in the nation, and I believe these changes will lead to students who become an innovative, well-educated, well-trained work force of tomorrow.”

An outside consultant criticized North Carolina's school system in a January report, saying the lack of clear-cut leadership thwarted efforts to improve education.

Harrison is expected to be sworn in as a board member and elected chairman Thursday.