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Stalemate in CMS vs. Mecklenburg Commissioner’s budget battle; what’s next?

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Over two hours of back and forth between the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board and Mecklenburg County Commissioners on Monday, but seemingly no closer to a resolution.

“We can’t go on like this,” said CMS Board of Education Chair, Elyse Dashew. “It is unhealthy for our community... and most importantly it is unhealthy for our children.”

Commissioners voted to withhold $56 million from the school district until it puts out a plan on closing learning gaps.

But then the school district came back with legal action. Monday, the boards tried to get closer to an agreement.

“CMS does not have a funding problem, they have a leadership problem,” said Mecklenburg County Commissioner’s Chairman George Dunlap.

Commissioners say they’ve repeatedly asked CMS for in-depth concrete plans on how to improve the districts performance. Commissioners claim CMS hasn’t brought those plans to the table.

CMS Board Chair Elyse Dashew says that’s not true—the district has a plan, and is working on sharing it with the community.

“You are overstepping and that is damaging to our school system,” said Dashew.

“We’re obligated to be responsible for citizens tax payers money, that we get to decide how much they get,” later responded Dunlap.

With no resolution seemingly in sight, Commissioner Laura Meier offered a ‘relationship reset’ moving forward for the boards.

“There is some pretty bad history between our boards,” said Meier “I would like to see if our boards would nominate respectively someone else besides our board chairs.”

Meier said the potential solution she offered comes with full respect of the board chairs and their roles.

“These people that we nominate could possibly go behind closed doors and work through [private] negations because I don’t think we are going to get anything done today and I think we can all be honest about that.”

As laid out during Monday’s public mediation meeting, the next course of action are private mediation meetings. There’s no official word yet on when those meetings will happen.

The boards are expected to have a resolution by August 1st, unless both boards agree to extend.

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