In Charlotte, discussions about pending land deals involving local governments typically occur out of the public eye, whether in staff meetings or closed-door sessions.
But a dispute about a proposed agreement between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Mecklenburg County became public earlier this week when schools Superintendent Peter Gorman sent a letter to County Manager Harry Jones.
In a nutshell, Gorman said the district is hesitant to give the county land it owns on Brevard Street for a planned First Ward development because of concerns about money owed by the county for another piece of school property.
He also discusses other concerns about cuts in this year's school budget and future spending on construction.
Click here to read Gorman's letter.
The county owes CMS $13.75 million for the Education Center, property the district gave up as part of a county deal to help bring minor-league baseball to uptown. And with a Dec. 31, 2010 deadline to move out of the building creeping closer, school leaders want to know when they'll get the money.
County officials said they intend to pay CMS, but have limited money right now due to the economy and a slowdown in spending for construction. The county had borrowed $9.5 million toward the debt for the Ed Center in 2008.
But earlier this year, the county scaled back its borrowing for construction and the $9.5 million it had on hand for the new offices was used to help finish school projects already underway.
County Manager Harry Jones said he'll recommend giving the $13.75 million as part of next year's budget talks.
Click here to read the Jones memo.
It is unclear whether the pledge from Jones will be enough to convince school leaders to agree to the new First Ward land deal. Gorman said Thursday he didn't know if the item would come up in closed session at next week's school board meeting.
- April Bethea