Williamsburg Co. School District: Schools will stay open despite lawsuit

VIDEO: Williamsburg Co. School District: Schools will stay open despite lawsuit

KINGSTREE, SC (WCSC) - The Williamsburg County School District is denying rumors that it will not be able to keep its schools open through the end of the current school year.

"While I cannot discuss the details of the pending lawsuit, I would like to address the allegation relayed in the press conference that potentially 'students would not receive education and teachers and staff would not get paid,'" Williamsburg County School District Supt. Carrie Brock said in a statement. "I would like to assure everyone that our students will continue to receive an education and our employees will continue to be paid. In other words, the District will continue to operate as normal for the remainder of this year."

Members of the Williamsburg County Legislative Delegation said in a news conference earlier on Wednesday that they've heard from concerned parents who feared a lawsuit would force the district to shut down.

That lawsuit was filed last week by an area charter school, DP Cooper Charter School, which claims the district hasn't been giving them their fair share of funding.

The suit alleges the district failed to pay DP Cooper Charter School a total of $476,784.82 for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 and states those funds should be paid immediately with interest.

The suit also claims, the Williamsburg County School Board "voted specifically to misappropriate an additional estimated $916,953 that is due DP Cooper in fiscal year 2018.

The suit states the school board does not have "lawful discretion or authority to disobey the funding mandates of the Charter School Act."

"The Defendants cannot vote to 'change' D.P. Cooper's statutory funding based on what it 'believes' is fair," the suit states.

The suit alleges the district "manufactured monthly funding 'receipts' to deceive D.P. Cooper into thinking that it was being properly funded in a manner explicitly approved by the South Carolina Department of Education" and provided exhibits it claims proves that allegation.

D.P. Cooper claims in the suit it does not have sufficient funds "to survive this school year, unless the Defendants provide to D.P. Cooper its lawful funding."

The lawsuit demands a jury trial and seeks actual and punitive damages against the school district.

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