Under the Dome

Gov. Cooper names 3 to education board – but legislature has the final say

One of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominees to the State Board of Education is a man who ran the state education department under former Gov. Mike Easley.

J.B. Buxton of Raleigh is a former deputy superintendent at the state Department of Public Instruction and a former Easley education adviser. At that time, the deputy managed the day-to-day operations of the department. Buxton ran for state superintendent of public instruction in 2004, losing to June Atkinson in the Democratic primary.

Buxton now runs an education consulting firm and helped bring a charter school to southeast Raleigh.

The Democratic governor’s nominees must be confirmed by the Republican-run legislature. The legislature ignored several of former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s nominees. As a result, some members stayed on the state board long after their terms expired.

Other Cooper nominees are Reginald Kenan, a lawyer and a current board member, and Sandra Byrd, a retired associate professor of education from UNC Asheville.

The State Board of Education, which is controlled by Republicans, is clashing with the legislature over who is in charge of education. The board is suing to invalidate a law giving some of its power to new Republican Superintendent Mark Johnson.

Legislators have filed a bill that would change the state constitution to have board members elected rather than appointed.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner