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Union County school board drops lawsuit over county money

The Union County Board of Education will withdraw its funding lawsuit against county commissioners, board members announced Friday.

The board filed a complaint in 2013 seeking additional money for capital and operation needs.

It won a $91 million judgment against the county, but that was overturned by the N.C. Court of Appeals last month.

The Board of Education asked the appellate court to review that decision on May 12, but it has now given up that request and decided to end the fight.

Richard Helms, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said the decision will become official soon.

“They’ve decided to withdraw,” he said. “They’ve gotta go to the court and withdraw it formally and that’ll take a little bit (of time).”

The withdrawal means the Board of Education will give up its request for outstanding operating expenses. When the appellate court sided with the county commissioners in April, that sum was estimated at less than $3 million.

The school district asked for $86 million in operating funds for 2013-14, and the county provided about $83 million. In April, the county said it had also covered all of the district’s requested capital needs for that year.

Helms said he has been talking regularly with Board of Education chairman John Collins and dialogue between the two boards is improving.

“We’ve taken this step in hopes that we will strengthen our relationship with the county and work together to address the needs of our students,” Collins said in a press release. “We still have unmet needs in our schools that require funding and we will continue to advocate for teacher raises, preventative maintenance and other initiatives to support UCPS students and staff.”

Wester: 704-358-5169

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