School districts often complain that counties don’t give them enough money. But Union County School officials are doing more than griping. They’re taking the Union County commission to court.
Union County commissioners approved a budget for this year about $8 million short of what the school board says the district needs. The school board pushed back and the negotiations ended up in mediation. After a five hour session today, school board chairman Richard Yercheck says the two sides are at an impasse.
“We were conceding some points and then we expected to get some kind of a counter-offer to that and it didn’t happen,” he says.
Yercheck says the mediation requires the district’s offer to remain private, but he calls it a long-term solution that wouldn’t have required the county to raise taxes.
Throughout the budget process, county commissioners have said the school board’s request would have forced them to do just that or deeply cut services.
The school board contends it can’t provide the services the state requires. So Yercheck says now the school board will sue the county.
“We just can’t agree on these numbers. 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,” says Yercheck.
This is the first time the district will take Union County to court over funding. But it’s the fourth time the school board has called in a mediator to settle budget disagreements. The district ended up with more money in each of those previous negotiations.