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Charlotte Area News

Frustrated NC Schools Superintendent Atkinson wants real power

June Atkinson is serving her second term as the public face of North Carolina's public schools. She serves as a liaison to the schools, works on blue ribbon committees and makes recommendations to the state school board. Beyond that, Atkinson says, voters who elected her into office don't realize she has no say in school policy. She says, "But I just think it's time to stop the charade that the state superintendent has the authority to run the department of public instruction." Last week, Governor Bev Perdue appointed Cumberland County Superintendent Bill Harrison to head the state school board. Purdue also named him to a newly created position of Chief Executive Officer of schools. He would effectively have the kind of authority Atkinson is seeking. She would not say whether she feels passed over by the appointment. However in Atkinson's letter to Senate President Mark Basnight and House Speaker Joe Hackney, she says she "deserves a chance to make a difference" just as Harrison does in his new roles.