Jokester on the loose

As the on-again-off-again — but predominately off-again — relationship between the city and county continues to deteriorate, a local jokester poured some fuel on the fire with posters around downtown Salisbury on Friday.

The posters depict Chairman Jim Sides and Vice Chairman Craig Pierce explicitly identified in the poster as “Downtown Crusaders.”

Here’s a photo:

The posters arrived just days after Sides told fellow commissioners in an email that he would not sign a letter of support for a Rowan-Salisbury School System downtown central office. Pierce told the Post he’s not against a central office, but “We simply don’t want it downtown on a contaminated lot. Period.”

The posters do not appear to include the author’s identifying mark.

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Mediation talks to resume Monday

SALISBURY — County commissioners and the local school board will resume mediation talks Monday after failed attempts to find compromise in two prior meetings.

School board members say commissioners have cut this year’s school budget too deep. Commissioners maintain that a loss in enrollment and a tight state budget are forcing cuts to education.

The two boards have met twice this month, but Richard Miller, the school board chairman, said the most recent discussions on July 11 was a “regression” from prior talks.

The boards are meeting for mediation in an effort to resolve the funding disputes under a provision in North Carolina General Statutes.

The school board says it needs a $4.7 million increase in current expense funds and another $3.9 million in capital outlay, for a total increase of $8.6 million.

But when county commissioners passed the 2013-14 budget in June, they approved no increase in capital funding and a decrease of $225,000 in current expense funding based on a projected drop in enrollment.

A press release Wednesday afternoon said the boards are expected to meet Monday at 5 p.m. at the Board of Education’s regular meeting chambers at 110 South Long Street.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.