The school board would be responsible to pay for local law enforcement to patrol the hallways and keep kids safe under a proposed budget agreement the Horry County Council is expected to vote on Tuesday.
In previous years, the school district paid half of the salaries but not other expenses incurred by the county to take patrol officers off the streets to act instead as school resource officers.
Under the new proposal, the school district would pay $1.6 million a year for 21 school resource officers to work 180 days a year, for more than eight hours a day, said Mark Lazarus, chairman of the Horry County Council.
“Basically, they will pay 100 percent of the time they are using (police) — that’s what’s going through council Tuesday night,” Lazarus said.
The schools are expected to receive as much as $1.5 to $2 million in additional funds next year, which Lazarus said is the result of the county’s increased efforts to collect property taxes from part-time residents.
“We found them the money to be able to pay for it through our efforts,” Lazarus said.
Some school board members resisted county efforts during early budget negotiations to require the schools to pay for 90 percent of the cost of salaries, cars, uniforms, training and equipment.
Under the current proposal, the school would pay the full cost of each officer but only for the days and hours the officer worked.
The county would pay for the remaining costs of $245,837, according to Justin Powell, assistant county administrator.
Joe DeFeo, school board chairman, says no decision has been made on the county’s proposal.
“We are working out a deal but we have not seen a complete package, so the school board has not had a chance to look at it and decide what we are going to do,” DeFeo said.
The school board will meet Monday night, before the final county council vote occurs Tuesday.
The decision to ask schools to refund the county’s costs came after Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill requested that an additional 18 officers be funded in the 2018 fiscal year budget that begins July 1.
The county was only able to fund half of those officers, and then the school board requested three more school resource officers to staff new middle schools. That left Hill with only six additional officers.