Jury sides with Union Co. Schools in lawsuit against county


UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A Union County jury unanimously voted in favor of the Union County Board of Education on Thursday in the school systems’ lawsuit seeking additional funding from the Union County Board.

The jury was made up of 12 Union County citizens and the trial lasted eight weeks.

Union County Public Schools sued the county for millions of dollars, saying it needs to fully fund next year's budget.

Judge W. Erwin Spainhour awarded the school system $4,973,134 in additional current expense funds and an additional $86,184,005 more than the commissioners had provided to meet capital outlay needs.

Jurors heard testimony about leaking school roofs, unmet safety and security needs, unmet ADA needs and technology needs for the schools.

"I believe that everything requested represents a need, a need for children who don't have a voice. The children depend on us to speak for them,” Superintendent Mary Ellis said during the trial. “I am not asking for extravagant things. I am asking for children to not have to attend schools with leaky roofs and for children in wheelchairs to be able to get into buildings. This is about children."

Union county commissioners told Channel 9 a jury's decision to give the school district millions of dollars will have a big impact on taxpayers.