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Senate refuses bailout for rural school district

Jun 21, 2011 5:54:00 PM - thestate.com
One cash-strapped S.C. school district cannot borrow money to pay for its day-to-day operations, leaving its future up in the air, state senators decided Tuesday.

And two other school districts, also in need of extra cash, likely will be refused the power to borrow as well.

By an 18-17 vote, state senators Tuesday agreed with Gov. Nikki Haley that it is a bad financial move for the Florence 4 school district to issue long-term bonds to pay for lights bills, salaries, employee health insurance premiums and other short-term operating costs.

The small, rural district of about 800 students needs a quick infusion of about $700,000 to pay its vendors, said Superintendent Bertha McCants. Without the money, the school district could be forced to merge into another nearby school district, officials previously have said.

Florence 4, along with Hampton 2 and Colleton County, successfully got local legislation passed through the Legislature this year to allow them to borrow money to offset the loss of federal stimulus money and the impact of state budget cuts. But Haley vetoed the three bond bills, saying they violated financial common sense.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)