A plan to raise money for a road to attract industries to the Jedburg area has become a battle between new jobs and new schools.
Berkeley County has been trying for months to get the school district to join a proposed tax district on new businesses off Interstate 26 at Jedburg. The school district hired consultants to evaluate the plan to pay for the Sheep Island interchange. The county had scheduled a meeting this evening to talk about it.
Now the county has dropped the whole plan for the tax district and canceled the meeting.
School officials will meet anyway, not only to hear a consultant's report on the proposed tax district but to talk about why the county has not been giving the school district more money from agreements with industries.
County Supervisor Dan Davis said the proposed tax- increment district is off the table because the state is not giving the county $22 million the county needed to make the plan work, so there's no need for the meeting.
Council Finance Committee Chairman Jack Schurlknight sent Schools Superintendent Anthony Parker a letter on Friday saying he was canceling the meeting. Schurlknight told Parker the county needed more time to evaluate the formula used to give the school district money from multicounty industrial parks before meeting with the school board on that issue.
Parker responded by calling a meeting for the school board to talk about the issues anyway. He urged county officials as well as the public to attend.
"We firmly believe the dialogue coming out of this meeting could be informative and productive for everyone," Parker said in a Tuesday letter to Schurlknight.
Schurlknight and Davis said they did not plan to attend tonight's meeting. "I understand the school district's concerns," Davis said, "but the county's job is economic development. We need schools and we need jobs."
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.