Freed-Up Funds Flow into Chester

Although the Fairfield County School Board voted 5-2 in a special called meeting last week to appeal a July 16 ruling by a Circuit Court judge in the Mitford case, one detail of that ruling remained unaddressed – whether or not to seek a court order to delay the delivery to Chester County Schools funds currently being held at the Fairfield County Treasurer’s Office, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Tuesday night, the Board held their third special called meeting in as many weeks to address that issue, and after more than an hour in executive session, took no action.

According to Judge J. Ernest Kinard’s ruling, the Treasurer was to release those funds – approximately $1.8 million accrued over the last three years – within 30 days of the July 16 court order. At the time the Board convened Tuesday night, the Board had literally hours before the funds were to be transferred. Any last-minute effort to delay those funds with a court order could have cost the District no less than $5,000, sources close to the School District reported. In the event the District wins the appeal, the funds will be returned with interest, the source said.

After the meeting, Board Chairwoman Andrea Harrison declined to answer questions about how much the appeal was expected to cost the school district or if the Board would muster an eleventh-hour attempt to delay the delivery of funds to Chester County and how much any such attempt might cost. Instead, Harrison said, the District’s attorney, Armand Derfner, would make a statement on the Board’s behalf.

However, reached by phone after the meeting, Derfner said he had no such statement.

“I really think you should get it from them (the School Board),” Derfner said. “They’re really in control of the statement, so you would want to talk to them.”

Follow-up phone calls to Harrison were not returned to The Voice at press time.