Horry County council member says past SRO funding plan is illegal

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Monday night, News13 told you the Horry County School Board refused the county’s proposal for SROs in the schools.

County council asked the district to pay about $1.65 million for next year’s school resource officers, but in the past, the county and the school board agreed to split the cost 50/50.

Council member Johnny Vaught says the school district has to look at other options because the way the county has been funding SROs in the past is illegal.

Vaught insists money from the county’s general fund cannot go towards any educational cost and that the county has really been breaking the law by going 50/50 on the school resource officers.

Right now, the school district has a little over $800,000 budgeted for all SROs including agencies outside of Horry County police, but the district’s superintendent says they can’t open school without a plan in place.

Monday night, the district said the would look at other agencies like the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, but Vaught says that wouldn’t work.

“We’ve talked with the sheriff about that, and really, that would be no different than using our people because the sheriff’s funding still comes from county council and it would be no different going with the sheriff than it would be going with us. So, I don’t see that as an option for them,” said Johnny Vaught, a Horry County Council member.

The school board ended up tabling the vote last night and decided to continue negotiations with the county and Vaught says that’s all either side can do for now.

“We charged our people with negotiating with their people. In other words, keep the politics out of it, keep their board out and council out of being out in the public and all of that. Turn it over to our people and let them negotiate a fair settlement and apparently that has not happened. We haven’t come up with something that is reasonable as far as they’re concerned,” said councilman Vaught.

According to Vaught, one of the best options right now for the district would be to look at hiring private security for schools. He says the county has collected about $2.5 million in unpaid property taxes and a large portion of that money will go to Horry County Schools and could potentially be used to pay for security.