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Bill Allows Superintendent’s Spouse To Work In Same School System

House Bill 611 that makes it legal for a local school board to hire the spouse of the superintendent, if that decision is discussed and approved in an open meeting, this week cleared two Senate committees and the Senate floor before heading back to the House for a vote of concurrence on the measure and ultimately being sent to the Governor’s desk.

The bill was brought forward by Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), who said it is important, especially in the rural counties he represents, to empower local school boards to determine the appropriate role of a superintendent’s spouse if the board wants to employ that individual. He and other Senators emphasized that current law making it a felony offense for the superintendent and spouse to work in the same LEA hurts efforts to attract and retain high-quality superintendents needed to lead local school systems.

The N.C. School Boards Association spoke in favor of the bill, which the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA) had also endorsed when asked earlier this week by Senate staff.

NCSBA’s spokesman emphasized that school employees are often married couples before one of them moves up to administration and sometimes on to the role of the superintendent.

A similar law change has been proposed in an earlier House rewrite of Senate Bill 15, but that measure applying only to smaller counties and cities was dropped after H611 moved forward and addressed this issue in a more comprehensive way.