Republican NC Rep. Jon Hardister has filed a bill that will ultimately allow the Guilford County Republican Party to fill the Guilford County Board of Education vacancy with the party’s choice – teacher Michael Logan – despite the Democrats on the school board voting Logan down three times.
Hardister filed the bill on Thursday, Feb. 9, and, on Friday, Feb. 10, he said that – due to a clerical error that happened in 2013 when the school board was made into a partisan body – the local Republican Party should have had, and now will have, the right to name whomever it wants to seat with no input from the Democrats on the school board.
Hardister said that he had spoken with non-partisan entities such as the NC School of Government and non-partisan administrative General Assembly staff, and there was agreement that, when the Guilford County school board was changed from a non-partisan body to a partisan one, clerks mistakenly did not remove the language that requires a board to vote on the new proposed member.
In 2013, former NC Sen. Trudy Wade introduced a bill that made the Guilford County school board – at that time a non-partisan body – into a partisan one.
Under North Carolina law, Hardister said, board vacancies are handled in different ways: With partisan boards, like the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, vacancies are filled by a decision of the local party representing the vacant seat. Non-partisan boards, under state law, do require a vote of the pertinent board to add a new member.
In November of last year, former Republican School Board Member Pat Tillman was elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, vacating his seat on the school board.
All that means, according to Hardister, is that the local Republican Party should have the ability to name whoever the party wants to name. He said that is the way it should have been and that’s the way it will be once his bill passes.
The new bill, Hardister said, does what the clerks should have done 10 years ago when the nature of the Guilford County School Board changed to a partisan board. The bill strikes the language stating that the board must vote on approving board vacancies.
Hardister said everyone who examines the situation realizes it was a simple error a decade ago, and he added that he does not expect much opposition to the bill.
Hardister said he’s working to get it passed quickly so the Guilford County school board vacancy can be filled in a timely manner.