Rock Hill School District files lawsuit against City of Rock Hill

ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – The Rock Hill School District announced it is suing the City of Rock Hill after school board official says the city did not follow through in its obligations from a 2020 agreement.

The official release is below. The City of Rock Hill told CN2 News it plans to share a statement at Monday’s council meeting.

“Rock Hill School District filed a lawsuit this morning against the City of Rock Hill asking the courts to assist the school district in enforcing the 2020 Third Agreement to the Intergovernmental Agreement also known as the “Downtown TIF”.

Rock Hill Schools is represented by Desa Ballard, Attorney with Ballard & Watson in West Columbia, SC.

“The school district can be a partner in economic development when it benefits our students, but our only mission is to educate our students; the District’s goal is not being the financial mechanism for the City’s development projects. We are disappointed in the lack of follow-through from the City of Rock Hill, and are forced to take this step in order to protect the educational future of our students,” said Helena Miller Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Rock Hill Schools has historically partnered with the City of Rock Hill and County Council in several Tax Incremental Financing Plans or TIFs, and the Downtown TIF in question was a consolidation of many of these past agreements.

The school district forfeited $85 million dollars of tax income from the Knowledge Park area over a thirty-year time period in exchange for a series of agreed-upon terms such as educational space in Knowledge Park for student education and experiences, help with zoning on a property that the District hopes to sell, and renegotiation of utility rates among others. As of today, the City of Rock Hill has failed to report their spending of the school district’s money in a requested independent audit, the zoning issue is still not resolved, there is no opportunity for students to learn in a dedicated space in Knowledge Park and the City of Rock Hill has fraudulently overcharged the district for utilities for the sum of $23 million dollars.

“We entered this agreement in good faith, and it is heartbreaking to see our students being taken advantage of. We have tried to work with city officials to resolve this over the past two years, and this is our last option to make sure our students are given what the agreement states they should be afforded,” Miller said.

City of Rock Hill responds to school district lawsuit

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