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County, school board leaders’ meeting cut short

A meeting of Rowan County commissioners and school board leaders lasted about 15 minutes this morning after the two sides couldn’t agree on whether the press should be allowed to attend.

County commissioners Chairman Jim Sides had wanted to meet behind closed doors to talk about differences between the boards, while school board board chairman Richard Miller wanted the meeting to be open.

The boards have disagreed publicly about the cost and location of a proposed new Rowan-Salisbury School System Central Office.

Sides said earlier this week he didn’t want to talk about the central office today, but thought leaders of the two boards could “handle a lot of problems behind closed doors.”

Miller disagreed, as did the Post and its attorney, who said the two members from each board constituted committees and the meeting was subject to the state’s open meetings law.

Sides began today’s meeting with scripture readings then said the two boards would talk later about the central office in a “very public” meeting.

Miller said his board wanted the press to stay at today’s meeting and did not want to “violate the public’s trust” by holding an inappropriate discussion.

He suggested adjourning the meeting until the two parties could agree on the “appropriate process totally.”

But Sides said he didn’t consider it an adjournment, but a cancellation.

Miller said that was a difference of opinion and the two needed to mutually agree to end the meeting.

Sides told county staff to return to work right before leaving the room.

“The meeting is cancelled,” Sides said. “Thank you, have a good day.”


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