Attorney general may help resolve Zais-board dispute

Attorney general may help resolve Zais-board dispute

Mick Zais

COLUMBIA -- S.C. Education Superintendent Mick Zais says an updated opinion from the attorney general's office could help resolve a dispute with the state Board of Education that stems from Zais' refusal to seek federal grants.

Zais spokesman Jay Ragley said Wednesday the education agency's attorney has offered to stem a threatened lawsuit from the board by seeking an opinion from Attorney General Alan Wilson. An opinion from the office is not binding in court.

The issue boils down to whether the state board can tell the elected schools chief what to do. The Republican superintendent argues the board has no authority over him.

The board points to a section of state law that says the superintendent's responsibilities include performing duties assigned by the board. But Zais contends that under other sections of the law, such duties must go through the official regulatory process, involving public hearings, a comment period, and legislative approval.

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