State ends ban on Union school board budget lawsuits

N.C. Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union
N.C. Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union N.C. General Assembly

Legislation lifting a ban on the Union County school board’s ability to sue the county over budget disputes became law this week.

County commissioners sought the ban last year following the school board’s 2013 lawsuit over a budget dispute that resulted in the district getting a $91 million judgment. That judgment was reversed in April by the state Court of Appeals, which ordered a new trial.

The law had put a two-year moratorium on the school board’s ability to sue the county and set funding levels that were close to what the two boards had been discussing.

Commissioners wound up passing a 15.4 tax increase last year, and said the move was needed to cover school district expenses.

But commissioners asked for the legislation to be repealed last fall, saying they did not like being told what to spend by the state. And the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, said, “There was some confusion that our bill was somehow responsible for the tax increase last year.”

School and county leaders said they are working closely this year on the budget.

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