Can Board of education and board of commissioners work together? - | WBTV Charlotte

Can Board of education and board of commissioners work together?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg school board members are concerned the county has crossed the line.  They worry the money the county approved to give the district next year will be held hostage until the money is spent a certain way.

School board members say it is not the role of commissioners to tell the board of education how to spend its money.

"It doesn't respect the roles of the two governing bodies," CMS school board member Eric Davis said. "Our people elected us for."

Commissioner Jim Pendergraph says the money should be spent on raises, and he adds that's what CMS wanted the money for.

"We put money in the budget for teacher pay raises," Pendergraph said.  "And they still complain, so I don't know what they want."

This decision has put some added tension between commissioners and members of the board of election.  Commissioners have a level of mistrust toward members of the board of education.

"It's on their side," Pendergraph said. "Not on my side."

We found conflict resolution expert Andy Silver to get some advice.  He has a Masters in conflict resolution and has helped mediate several city and county matters.  Silver believes both boards need to first meet behind closed doors to iron out their differences.

"There has to be confidentiality for people to make amends," Silver said.  "Or tell the truth and step back from posturing."

He also believes the new board should tell commissioners they should be held accountable for the actions they do, not what previous boards have done.

Silver realizes commissioners will hold what has happened in the past over CMS' head, but he hopes the past can be minimized. 

"If it can recede in the background," Silver said. "And bring some new agreements and discussion in the foreground."

Both Pendergraph and Davis agree more communication between the boards could help smooth things out.

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