Mediation Fails in Pender County Dispute
Mediation was unsuccessful for settling the dispute between the Pender County Board of Education and the Pender County Commissioners recently. The process ended without a resolution and will likely be turned over to a judge for settlement, taking the control out of the hands of the disputing parties. The county issued a public statement that it had no desire to extend the mediation session once the August 1st deadline was reached, but the decision was no unanimous among board members. The Board of Education had agreed to extend mediation in hopes of avoiding a lawsuit.
Now that mediation has ended, the Board of Education has five days to file a lawsuit. If none is filed within five days a suit is no longer an option. Said the County Commissioners, “[We] are willing to work together voluntarily, and not under legal compulsion, hopefully the Board of Education will join us.”
There are some areas of agreement between the two sides. For instance, the County Commissioners stated they agree with the board’s desire to develop a funding formula for the schools that works for both sides to address future funding. Their main goal is to avoid exploding enrollment growth without addressing the needs of the future.
However, they are not willing to discuss the issue when the treat of a lawsuit is still out there. They also stated that discussion of a funding formula should not be included in the mediation process and mediation was only intended to settle funding for the upcoming school year.