A new state law will require the Guilford County Board of Education to approve a previously rejected GOP candidate to fill a vacant seat, and make five other counties’ school board elections partisan.
The bill was first introduced by State Reps. Jon Hardister and John Faircloth in February as a solution to a months-long stalemate with the Guilford County school board.
When former Republican board member Pat Tillman became a commissioner in November, it was up to the county GOP to recommend his replacement.
But the school board rejected their pick, Guilford County Schools teacher Michael Logan, four times citing concerns about racial prejudice on his social media posts.
The new law, which was passed on Wednesday, will seat Logan anyway. Rep. Hardister explained the process in the House session before the final vote.
“If there's a vacancy on the Guilford County Board of Education, which is partisan, then the political party per statute has 30 days to send forth the replacement,” he said. “And then once that's done, then if the replacement, the nominee’s, legally qualified, they'll be sworn into office and this would handle the situation.”
But the law won’t only impact Guilford County. It passed with several additions to it which would make school board races partisan in the following counties: Ashe, Cabarrus, Henderson, McDowell, and Mitchell.
Guilford Rep. Amos Quick voted against the bill, saying it turned into “a monster.”
“This bill went away one thing as it often does, comes back another thing, but it started out about one man not being impaneled by the Guilford County Board of Education,” he said. “And it is not fair to other communities to be added into this. As well as it's not fair to the Guilford County Board of Education to not be allowed to solve its own problem.”
The law was passed with a vote of 67 to 48. The Guilford County school board’s next meeting is on April 4.
Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.