No progress in joint board talks

SALISBURY — No action was taken after three hours of closed-session mediation between Rowan County commissioners and the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education on Thursday.

The joint meeting was the third between the two boards as they continue to fight over the amount of funding for the county’s schools.

Before the two boards went into closed sessions, Commission Chairman Jim Sides asked mediator Willis Whichard if it was required for the discussion to take place in closed session.

Whichard — a prominent legal figure who has served in both legislative houses and on both state appellate courts — said state law doesn’t explicitly require it, but it “clearly contemplates” that the talks will occur behind closed doors.

“I cannot imagine productive negotiations going on,” Whichard said.

Unlike Monday night, which stretched to 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, the boards were given a three-hour limit to discuss proposals Thursday.

Whichard met with each board separately, beginning with commissioners. About 10 p.m., both boards filed back into the main chamber. Whichard said the boards would recess and asked for a suitable date.

Several board of education members wanted next Wednesday, July 17, but commissioners asked for a date in early August.

Whichard said state statute required that the boards come to a conclusion by Aug. 1.

Whichard asked counsel for both boards to confer and try to set a time. The meeting ended about 10:50 p.m.

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