On Monday, Johnson was busily entertaining former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and a multitude of other politicians who have made it their job to privatize public education in North Carolina.
On Friday, he laid off 40 people from the Department of Public Instruction due to a budget cut made by many lawmakers in the same room as Johnson and Bush in a year where the state supposedly had a surplus.
From T. Keung Hui in today’s News & Observer,
Layoff notices were given Friday to 40 employees at the state Department of Public Instruction — including several who work with North Carolina’s low-performing schools — to help meet a $5.1 million budget cut ordered by state lawmakers.
Most of the cuts were in Educator Support Services, a division that helps low-performing schools and districts, and in the Information Technology Division. In addition to the 40 layoffs, 21 vacant positions were eliminated, according to State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson.
“Today, we implemented the budget reductions required by law for the 2018-19 fiscal year,” Johnson said in a written statement. “The plan we developed, drafted by members of the DPI leadership team with the understanding and support of the State Board of Education, was informed by the recommendations contained in the third-party operational review of the agency completed earlier this year by Ernst & Young (EY) “ (https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article214065504.html).
Those same state lawmakers also gave Johnson 700,000 dollars to hire people loyal only to Johnson who were performing tasks already fulfilled and to cover legal fees in a lawsuit with the state board.
Those same lawmakers also gave Johnson a million dollars to pay Ernst & Young to perform an audit to find supposed “wasteful” uses of funds in DPI.
They concluded that DPI was underfunded.
1.7 million dollars is exactly a third of the amount of money cut from the budget for DPI. Wonder how many jobs that would translate to?
Johnson’s remarks in the N&O report were submitted by a written report. He could meet Jeb Bush personally, but was he there to give the DPI employees who have been there much longer than he has their notices?
What Johnson said later in his written statement is even more egregious.
“I support the decisions we made, but we did not make them lightly. I thank all the affected employees for their hard work in support of our public schools. Each will have the option to receive transition assistance, and we are adamant about helping each affected employee who wants our help to find new employment.”
All jobs in DPI that relate to charter schools and the Innovative School District were not touched.
This just keeps proving something that most public school advocates already knew: Mark Johnson is simply toxic for North Carolina’s public school system. Voting out the puppet masters who enable him in November could go a long way into reclaiming our public schools.