State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_115C > GS_115C-431

§ 115C‑431.  Procedurefor resolution of dispute between board of education and board of countycommissioners.

(a)        If the board ofeducation determines that the amount of money appropriated to the local currentexpense fund, or the capital outlay fund, or both, by the board of countycommissioners is not sufficient to support a system of free public schools, thechairman of the board of education and the chairman of the board of countycommissioners shall arrange a joint meeting of the two boards to be held withinseven days after the day of the county commissioners' decision on the schoolappropriations.

Prior to the joint meeting,the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge shall appoint a mediator unless theboards agree to jointly select a mediator. The mediator shall preside at thejoint meeting and shall act as a neutral facilitator of disclosures of factualinformation, statements of positions and contentions, and efforts to negotiatean agreement settling the boards' differences.

At the joint meeting, theentire school budget shall be considered carefully and judiciously, and the twoboards shall make a good‑faith attempt to resolve the differences thathave arisen between them.

(b)        If no agreement isreached at the joint meeting of the two boards, the mediator shall, at therequest of either board, commence a mediation immediately or within areasonable period of time. The mediation shall be held in accordance with rulesand standards of conduct adopted under Chapter 7A of the General Statutesgoverning mediated settlement conferences but modified as appropriate andsuitable to the resolution of the particular issues in disagreement.

Unless otherwise agreed uponby both boards, the following individuals shall constitute the two workinggroups empowered to represent their respective boards during the mediation:

(1)        The chair of eachboard or the chair's designee;

(2)        The superintendentof the local school administrative unit and the county manager or either'sdesignee;

(3)        The finance officerof each board; and

(4)        The attorney foreach board.

Members of both boards, theirchairs, and representatives shall cooperate with and respond to all reasonablerequests of the mediator to participate in the mediation. NotwithstandingArticle 33C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, the mediation proceedingsinvolving the two working groups shall be conducted in private. Evidence ofstatements made and conduct occurring in a mediation are not subject todiscovery and are inadmissible in any court action. However, no evidenceotherwise discoverable is inadmissible merely because it is presented ordiscussed in a mediation. The mediator shall not be compelled to testify orproduce evidence concerning statements made and conduct occurring in amediation in any civil proceeding for any purpose, except disciplinary hearingsbefore the State Bar or any agency established to enforce standards of conductfor mediators. Reports by members of either working group to their respectiveboards shall be made in compliance with Article 33C of Chapter 143 of theGeneral Statutes.

Unless both boards agreeotherwise, or unless the boards have already resolved their dispute, themediation shall end no later than August 1. The mediator shall have theauthority to determine that an impasse exists and to discontinue the mediation.The mediation may continue beyond August 1 provided both boards agree. If bothboards agree to continue the mediation beyond August 1, the board of countycommissioners shall appropriate to the local school administrative unit fordeposit in the local current expense fund a sum of money sufficient to equalthe local contribution to this fund for the previous year.

If the working groups reach aproposed agreement, the terms and conditions must be approved by each board. Ifno agreement is reached, the mediator shall announce that fact to the chairs ofboth boards, the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, and the public. Themediator shall not disclose any other information about the mediation. Themediator shall not make any recommendations or public statement of findings orconclusions.

The local board of educationand the board of county commissioners shall share equally the mediator'scompensation and expenses. The mediator's compensation shall be determinedaccording to rules adopted under Chapter 7A of the General Statutes.

(c)        Within five daysafter an announcement of no agreement by the mediator, the local board ofeducation may file an action in the superior court division of the GeneralCourt of Justice. The court shall find the facts as to the amount of moneynecessary to maintain a system of free public schools, and the amount of moneyneeded from the county to make up this total. Either board has the right tohave the issues of fact tried by a jury. When a jury trial is demanded, thecause shall be set for the first succeeding term of the superior court in thecounty, and shall take precedence over all other business of the court.However, if the judge presiding certifies to the Chief Justice of the SupremeCourt, either before or during the term, that because of the accumulation ofother business, the public interest will be best served by not trying the causeat the term next succeeding the filing of the action, the Chief Justice shallimmediately call a special term of the superior court for the county, toconvene as soon as possible, and assign a judge of the superior court or anemergency judge to hold the court, and the cause shall be tried at this specialterm. The issue submitted to the jury shall be what amount of money is neededfrom sources under the control of the board of county commissioners to maintaina system of free public schools.

All findings of fact in thesuperior court, whether found by the judge or a jury, shall be conclusive. Whenthe facts have been found, the court shall give judgment ordering the board ofcounty commissioners to appropriate a sum certain to the local schooladministrative unit, and to levy such taxes on property as may be necessary tomake up this sum when added to other revenues available for the purpose.

(d)        An appeal may betaken to the appellate division of the General Court of Justice, and notice ofappeal shall be given in writing within 10 days after entry of the judgment.All papers and records relating to the case shall be considered a part of therecord on appeal. The conclusion of the school or fiscal year shall not bedeemed to resolve the question in controversy between the parties while anappeal is still pending. Any final judgment shall be legally binding on theparties at the conclusion of the appellate process. The payment of any finaljudgment by the county in favor of the local school administrative unit shallnot be considered, or used in any manner, to deny or reduce appropriations tothe local school administrative unit by the county in fiscal years subsequentto the one at issue to offset such payment of a final judgment.

(e)        If, in an actionfiled under this section, the final judgment of the General Court of Justice isrendered after the due date prescribed by law for property taxes, the board ofcounty commissioners is authorized to levy such supplementary taxes as may berequired by the judgment, notwithstanding any other provisions of law withrespect to the time for doing acts necessary to a property tax levy. Uponmaking a supplementary levy under this subsection, the board of countycommissioners shall designate the person who is to compute and prepare thesupplementary tax receipts and records for all such taxes. Upon delivering thesupplementary tax receipts to the tax collector, the board of countycommissioners shall proceed as provided in G.S. 105‑321.

The due date of supplementarytaxes levied under this subsection is the date of the levy, and the taxes maybe paid at par or face amount at any time before the one hundred and twentiethday after the due date. On or after the one hundred and twentieth day andbefore the one hundred and fiftieth day from the due date there shall be addedto the taxes interest at the rate of two percent (2%). On or after the onehundred and fiftieth day from the due date, there shall be added to the taxes,in addition to the two percent (2%) provided above, interest at the rate ofthree‑fourths of one percent (3/4 of 1%) per 30 days or fraction thereofuntil the taxes plus interest have been paid. No discounts for prepayment ofsupplementary taxes levied under this subsection shall be allowed. (1975, c. 437, s. 1; 1981, c.423, s. 1; 1989, c. 493, s. 2; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 666, s. 3; 1997‑222,s. 1; 2007‑92, s. 1.)