School CEO battle ends

October 12, 2009 9:08:55 PM PDT
The legal wrangling over who's in charge of the state's public schools is over.Governor Bev Perdue's office decided not to appeal a court's ruling that the state Board of Education violated the constitution.

The controversy started when the board had named Chairman Dr. Bill Harrison to also be chief executive of the schools.

Perdue appointed Harrison to the CEO job soon after she took office. The position didn't exist before she created it, but Perdue - a former teacher - said it was necessary to improve accountability and establish a clear line of command in the state Department of Public Instruction. Superintendent June Atkinson said the move relegated her to the role of a powerless ambassador for schools and claimed in a lawsuit that it was unconstitutional.

In July, a judge ruled that Atkinson had the power to run the Department of Public Instruction's day-to-day operations.

That same month Harrison announced he was retiring as CEO of North Carolina schools after just a few months on the job.

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