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Berkeley Co. says its been overpaying school district by million - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Berkeley Co. says its been overpaying school district by millions

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

The Berkeley County School District says the county’s new budget will cost them millions of dollars.

The county says the school district shouldn’t have been getting that money to begin with.

"They have a need, and so in terms of dealing with that, they came through the backdoor to get funds from the school district after the fact," Michael Turner, the districts interim superintendent said.

It all revolves around a fee that many major companies pay instead of taxes.

It allows us to compete with other states across the country in recruiting Volvo, Google, Blackbaud, Benefitfocus, all of those companies that provide jobs so those students graduating from the Berkeley County school district, for their parents, Josh Whitley, a Berkeley County councilman said.

According to the county, back in 2000 the school district agreed to a 70-30 split of that fee, which is the last documented agreement.

For at least the last three years, though, the district has been getting 80 percent, which Turner says is the arrangement agreed to in person and by handshake but not on paper.

That difference was worth $2 million in 2014 alone of money that was going to the district and shouldve been going to the county.

"If we had been taking more than we should have or getting more than we should have, since they distribute it, I would think that we would've known before July," Turner said.

Turner says while the agreements may not have been on paper, the 80-20 deal should still stand.

"It was not fair play to change that rule, to take that money to change the formula that was being used after the school district had already completed its budget," Turner said.

The school district will lose about $561,000 because of the percentage change, but Turner said the district does not expect to have to raise taxes.

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