State Superintendent Mark Johnson is defending an emergency purchase that allows for the continued use of the e-learning program Istation. 

Johnson says the state's Department of Information Technology created a situation that forced him to approve spending over $900,000 on the Istation emergency purchase.

The superintendent says he had to act in order to ensure continued compliance with the state's Read to Achieve legislation.  

DIT last week said there was not “sufficient justification” for the state to spend the money, and threatened to suspend or cancel the contract with Istation.

The Istation program has proven unpopular with teachers, and the contract has been on hold pending legal challenges and a DIT administrative review.

The News and Observer reports Johnson is blaming DIT for its slow response to the controversy, claiming that the agency's “inaction” led to last week's emergency purchase one day before student testing began.

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