School Law Bulletin #2005/06

School Budget Mediation: Three Cases from 2004

Friday, April 1, 2005

In 2004 three boards of county commissioners and their respective boards of education went to mediation to address disputes over the county’s funding of public schools. These three mediations built on the experience of eight other counties that have used this process of dispute resolution since 1997. This article examines what hap- pened in each of these three cases and offers guidance that may help other boards of county commissioners and boards of education to avoid this method of handling their budget differences or—if they find that mediation is essential—to use that option effectively.

The article first provides background on budget media- tion as it has developed in North Carolina since 1997 and briefly takes note of previous reports and research on the process. Next, it describes the mediations held in Cabarrus, Iredell, and Moore counties in 2004. Analysis of the trends and lessons from these experiences follows, building on the study of two 1997 mediations described in an earlier issue of School Law Bulletin. The article closes with a few points of practical guidance.

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Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles