|(a) The parties may agree to mediate the dispute at any time
before the 270th day after the board received the notice of claim for breach
of contract, or before the expiration of any extension agreed to by the parties
(b) The parties may mediate the dispute even after the case
has been referred to SOAH for a contested case hearing. SOAH may also refer
a contested case for mediation pursuant to its own rules and guidelines, whether
or not the parties have previously attempted mediation.