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Longtime FDTC board member questions spending practices of the school

(WPDE)

Longtime Florence Darlington Technical College (FDTC) Board of Trustee Hood Temple said he's pretty upset over the financial situation of the district.

ABC 15 News first told you FDTC has to pay back $1,661,939 to the U.S. Department of Education following a review of FDTC's Title IV programs, for not being compliant with federal student aid, according to officials with the U.S. Department of Education.

Officials said the U.S. Education Department issued a Final Program Review Determination (FPRD) on Dec. 18 to FDTC’s President Ben Dillard.

The FRPD represents the department's findings and conclusions stemming from a program review initiated at FDTC in March 2016 and incorporating the institution's responses to the department's May 2016 program review report.

During his annual state of the school address last Friday, Dillard said the college will pay back the money over a three year period.

He said they may also have to cut part time employees to save money.

Many FDTC employees have questioned eliminating part time positions, many would prefer to cut and trim salaries of college administrators.

Temple said he sent an email to Dillard questioning a number of the school's spending practices, including the salary of a part time employee.

Temple added Dillard sent him an email showing the employee made $230,000 from 2014 through the beginning of 2018 working two days a month and teaching a leadership class for staff.

He said Dillard's email for the employee's new agreement for this year shows he'll get paid $2,000 a day from August through May for working four days per month. That comes to $80,000.

The employee wasn't working under a contract, but an agreement, according to the email. Temple said he's learned the employee has since resigned.

The board didn't know about this part time employee's position, Temple said, and it violated the S.C. Procurement Code, which requires a bidding process.

Temple also provided us with an email that showed the college paid $46,318.20 to 13 people who spoke on leadership between 2014 and 2016.

One employee said he sent FDTC board members an email detailing his concerns at the school, including exorbitant salaries for administrative staff.

The employee said over the years they've questioned why they haven't received a raised and said it doesn't seem likely now that they'll get one any time soon.

We contacted Florence County Representative Phillip Lowe about the school's situation. Lowe said he met with the college's administrators about their $40 million dollar budget.

"As to what we will fund with additional monies, with the available for tech, for the normal education process. But we would not be in any way bailing out any difficulties that the school may find itself in right now. Through the budgeting process," said Lowe.

Lowe said he hopes FDTC can get back on track.

"Florence Darlington Tech is an integral part of the education system here in Florence. We need to straighten out any problems there are and get back to educating folks and jobs are really needed in the Pee Dee," said Lowe.

FDTC officials have said they're not commenting on the matter.

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