By Kelly Hinchcliffe

Raleigh, N.C. — State Superintendent Mark Johnson smiled Thursday as he showed a picture of himself sitting on an old North Carolina school bus.

“For some reason, they let me get behind the driver wheel. Luckily, the bus was not turned on,” he joked.

For Johnson, it was a lighthearted moment at the end of his monthly superintendent’s report to the State Board of Education – a way to showcase the state’s 100th anniversary of school buses and other good news happening in North Carolina’s public schools.

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But after 11 minutes of good news stories from the superintendent, state board member Greg Alcorn wanted more.

“I appreciate the good news, but the elephant in the room is the budget cuts,” Alcorn said.

“I’d like to request, Superintendent Johnson, that if possible next month you put a couple things on your presentation that will help us with our clarity and consistency of message,” Alcorn said. “One is the budget cuts and how we’re handling that from your perspective, being able to hear as much as we can on that.”

Alcorn explained that the board also wanted to hear the superintendent’s thoughts on principal pay and how state lawmakers are handling that topic.

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