'Taking away of a promise': Horry County school officials upset with City of Myrtle Beach

Horry County School officials said they were promised a new school. Myrtle Beach officials said that wasn't the case. (Taggart Houck/WPDE).

Horry County School District officials are upset after Myrtle Beach officials said they could get rid of a plan that would put another school at the Market Common.

The Market Common's history as an Air Force base allowed for help when it came time to redevelop. The South Carolina General Assembly authorized Tax Increment Financing (TIF) legislation as a way of paying for the public infrastructure, according to Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea.

Kruea said that all started in 1995. The funds are meant to be used for public projects.

School District officials said $20 million was promised to them for a new school at the Market Common. They said now, there's a good chance they won't receive that funding.

"I have a problem with the taking away of a promise. And I'm glad they're opening up, maybe having some discussion," said Joe DeFeo, Chairman of the Horry County School Board.

Kruea said that's not the case. Instead, the school was put on a project list years ago as a placeholder, in case there was a need to serve the population. He said now city officials don't think that's a top priority.

Kruea said last he heard, less than 200 Horry County School students lived within 4,000 acres of the former Air Force base.

"Not enough, in all likelihood, for a school on the base," he said in an email to ABC15 News.

He said Defeo and school officials didn't mention the school until it was proposed to be removed from the list.

"[By] deleting the school from the list and amending the project list, we can accomplish new public projects," he said.

A hearing to discuss the plan was set for Nov. 14. That was postponed. We're working for you to find out when it could be rescheduled.

Kruea said it was cancelled at the county's request. Defeo said if the plan is called off, what might not seem like an issue now, could change over time.

"In four or five years they're gonna force the board, whether I'm on the board then or not doesn't matter. They're going to force [them] into a corner, put more kids in a classroom, raise taxes and that's going to affect the people of Myrtle Beach so nobody wins," said DeFeo.

Kruea said if the proposal is amended, the Horry County School District would still get back more than $1.2 million per year until 2039.

He said the city will continue to discuss the use of funds with school district officials.

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