…but it would mean going against the wishes of those who control him, and it would also break tradition of actually serving the public school system.
From WRAL’s Kelly Hinchcliffe this past June 29:
State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Friday that the Department of Public Instruction is eliminating 61 positions – 40 employees and 21 vacant positions. The layoffs are in response to $5.1 million in budget cuts lawmakers made to the agency.
The cuts mainly affect employees in two divisions – Educator Support Services, which helps some of the state’s lowest-performing schools, and Information Technology. The General Assembly reduced the agency’s administrative funds by 6.2 percent this school year and 13.9 percent next school year.
“I support the decisions we made, but we did not make them lightly,” Johnson said in a statement. “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” (https://www.wral.com/40-state-education-staffers-laid-off-21-vacant-positions-eliminated/17665067/).
That was $5.1 million in budget cuts. Yet Johnson has more than accounted $5.1 million in spending above and beyond what this year’s budget already allotted.
Remember when Johnson was given 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.
Johnson also spent a million dollars to pay Ernst & Young to perform an audit to find supposed “wasteful” uses of funds in DPI.
The audit concluded that DPI was underfunded.
There’s $1.7 million right there.
Then there is this from this past March:
The Department of Public Instruction is distributing a total of $4.8 million from funds allocated by the state in 2016 as part of its Read to Achieve initiative for “literacy support” in early grades. Johnson, in his time as superintendent, has emphasized the importance of reading proficiency and early literacy education(https://www.ednc.org/2018/03/09/superintendent-johnson-continues-push-early-literacy-announces-200-k-3-reading-teacher/).
Dr. June Atkinson shed some light on this “magic” funding last December. It might be worth reading this report from NC Policy Watch – “Mark Johnson accused of misleading the public regarding literacy program spending.”
Yes, that money Johnson “found” went to teachers, but it seemed to magically appear out of nowhere. On purpose.
Ironically, Johnson could have fought for more early literacy funding in this year’s budget. It seems to be his big endeavor. And if it that important to him, then would he not actively fight for additional funds for that initiative from the very same lawmakers who are lowering corporate tax rates AGAIN and bragging about a surplus?
Plus, look at the positions eliminated by Johnson and Raleigh.
$1.7 million + $4.8 million = a hell of a lot more than $5.1 million.
In fact, it could allow for those DPI veterans to remain working with low-performing schools and fill the vacant spots with literacy coaches and have money left over to hire more people who can help with reading initiatives around the state.