School boards, superintendents and “emergency powers”: A BAD idea on sooooooooo many levels



Statists often brag about not letting a “good” crisis go to waste.   Here are some folks in Raleigh trying to take advantage of the current one:


Attached please find a sample resolution prepared by our legal department for your consideration.The resolution grants emergency powers to your superintendent to address the expanding novel Coronavirus crisis.I strongly urge all of our boards in North Carolina, after consultation with their board attorney, to adopt this resolution, or a similar resolution giving this needed authority to your superintendent.


As we work through this crisis, your superintendent needs the flexibility to act quickly to protect and provide for student and staff safety.I believe this resolution will help your superintendent do the job that you want him/her to do.



Edwin Dunlap, Jr., Ph.D.

Executive Director

North Carolina School Boards Association

7208 Falls of Neuse Road

Raleigh, NC 27615


So, a group that allegedly represents our local elected officials is asking those same elected official to surrender a lot of authority and power to unelected employees.  What could go wrong?



Here’s the resolution.  Below is the full text:


Resolution to Grant Emergency Powers to the Superintendent


Whereas on March 14, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and the closure of all North Carolina public schools for instructional purposes through March 30, 2020, as a safeguard against the further spread of COVID-19; and

Whereas under G.S.§ 115C-36, the local Board of Education has general control and supervision of all matters pertaining to the public schools; and


Whereas under G.S. § 115C-47(15) the local Board of Education has the authority to prescribe the duties of the Superintendent, subject to G.S. § 115C-276(a); and

Whereas the Board of Education finds that the current state of emergency requires that the Superintendent be granted greater flexibility to respond quickly and appropriately to the evolving crisis; and

Whereas under Board Policy 2450 [or other applicable local board policy], the operation of any section or sections of Board policies not established by law or contract may be suspended temporarily by a majority vote of Board members present at a Board meeting held in compliance with law and Board policy;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the [name of LEA] Board of Education grants to the Superintendent the following temporary powers to address the COVID-19 emergency:


  1. Authority to temporarily waive such Board policies or provisions of Board policies as the Superintendent shall deem necessary to comply with guidance from appropriate health or governmental authorities or necessary for other effective response.
  1. Authority to take any lawful actions necessary to ensure the continuation of public education, to provide for the health and safety of students and employees, or to respond to direction from appropriate health and government authorities.  Such actions may include, but are not limited to:  adjustments to the curriculum and the provision of alternative educational program options; adjustments to employee work schedules and assignments; modifications to the school calendar; adjustments to the delivery of school-provided meals; limitations on access to property owned or controlled by the Board of Education; applying to any governmental body for financial or other aid as may be available; and applying to any governmental body for waiver of regulations or requirements, compliance with which is affected by the COVID-19 emergency.
  1. Authority to enter into contracts without board approval for any dollar amount necessary for the purchase of materials, equipment, supplies, or services for sanitation, cleaning, technology, or other needs directly related to the COVID-19 emergency situation, provided such action is consistent with all applicable State and Federal laws.

NOW, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Superintendent is directed to keep the Board of Education informed of any actions taken under this emergency authority as soon as is practicable in light of the circumstances.


NOW, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the temporary powers authorized by this Resolution  are in effect for the duration identified in Governor’s Order of March 14, 2020, and any subsequent extension of that order, unless otherwise rescinded or extended by the Board upon a two-thirds majority vote.


NOW, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that execution of this Resolution is conclusive evidence of the Board’s approval of this action and of the authority granted herein. 

Adopted and approved this ____ day of ____________, 2020.


Chair, on behalf of                                                                              Date

the __________________ Board of Education         


So, toss that ol’  accountability thing right out the window.  *Isn’t it nice that the resolution allows for the “emergency powers” to be extended?*  Why even have a school board?


In this era of conference calls,  Citrix, Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime,  is this  REALLY necessary?



Granting  emergency powers to someone or some people who cannot be held accountable by voters and taxpayers takes us down a very slippery slope.  This idea needs to be killed post-haste.