Union County Schools and Union County are having their day in court due to a budget dispute. It’s actually been much more than a day. To be exact, the two sides have been going at it in court for 23 days now and the legal fees are mounting.
It’s not exactly clear how much this dispute is costing Union County taxpayers, but it’s more than $450,000. A Union County Public Schools spokesman says the district has spent $197,000 on the dispute so far. And Union County has paid $256,650 in legal fees just through August. Those amounts don’t include hundreds of hours county and district staffers have worked on this.
The wrangling is over $8 million. That’s how much more the school board says the district needs from the county to properly function. The two sides tried mediation, but after that failed, school board chairman Richard Yercheck said in July it was time to take the county to court.
“We just can’t agree on these numbers and they believe their numbers are right and we believe our numbers are right and, at this point, we’re going to ask a jury to take a look at them and see what they think," Yercheck said.
A judge has since imposed a gag order.
The jury has done a lot of listening. So has the judge, a couple bailiffs and a court reporter, who, of course, all get paid too.