North Carolina County Board Uses Mediation to Settle Dispute with Board of Education
Saturday, August, 15, 2015
The Pender County Schools Board of Education decided recently to not file a funding dispute lawsuit against the county’s Board of Commissioners. This moves the dispute into a new phase, which could lead to discussion between the two and possible contract approval.
Previously, the education board had forced the commissioner’s board into mediation by claiming a $2.6 million shortfall in their upcoming school year’s budget. The two had until the beginning of August to reach a settlement or agree to continue mediation once the deadline had expired. At the last minute, the education board voted to extend past the deadline, but commissioners declined the extension. This gave the education board seven days to file a suit, which they voted 4-1 not to do.
The commissioner’s board issued a statement following the decision stating they are happy to continue negotiations, but did not want to do so under the threat of litigation. The education board also issued a statement that they are eager to begin discussions again immediately and called the commissioner’s recent approval of a $2.95 million advance in funding for school bond projects a positive development. There are still issues to resolve regarding the bond projects, but at least one side made a good faith measure toward moving forward.
There is still a long way to go. The next issue is to get approval for contracts, procured land, and architects for the upcoming building project that was part of the dispute. The two boards are optimistic about the future and hope to be able to resolve all future issues without involving attorneys.