Horry County School Board refuses county’s SRO proposal

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County School Board decided on Monday night to table a vote on school resource officers.

It comes after Horry County Council asked the district to pay about $1.65 million for next year’s school resource officers. In the past, the price of the SRO’s salary was split evenly between the county and the district, but this proposal budgets $245,000 for the county.

“What this has really become is a money issue,” said Horry County School Board Chairman, Joe DeFeo. “I think it should be a 50-50 split like it’s always been. Our students are just as important to be protected as anybody else in the county.”

Staff Attorney for the district, Kenneth Generette, said he’s been going back and forth with the county’s attorney, Arrigo Carotti, for weeks.

“I think we still need some clarification on whether that $1.6 million still includes uplift of vehicles, equipment, etc.. so there’s probably still some pieces of information that need to be clarified,” said Generette.

School board member, Holly Heniford, said she’s afraid the county won’t budge.

“From my professional perspective, I don’t see them moving and we don’t need to be caught last minute trying to fill these positions,” she explained. “We’ve got to take care of these kids.”

The board tabled the vote but also agreed to continue negotiations with the county while looking at other agencies like the Horry County Sheriff’s Office.

“We can’t open school without a plan in place,” said Superintendent, Rick Maxey, who will be involved in the negotiations.

Right now, the school district has $801,000 budgeted for all SROs, including from agencies outside of HCPD. The district plans to pay $31,000 per HCPD SRO next year and has requested three additional SROs to put in three of the new schools.

Maxey said they need to get the contract worked out as soon as possible, but at this point, there is no specific deadline.