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Trouble At Florence-Darlington Tech

Law enforcement launches “preliminary inquiry …”

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Law enforcement agencies are conducting preliminary inquiries into alleged fiscal improprieties at Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) – a network of campuses located in the rural Pee Dee region of South Carolina.

According to our sources, agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) paid a visit to the school recently – although it’s not immediately clear who they spoke with, what they were looking for or what (if anything) they may have taken with them upon completing this initial visit.

All we’ve been told at this point is the agency was called in to investigate a complaint and has opened a preliminary investigation into the matter.

FDTC is part of the Palmetto State’s sprawling technical college system, which is receiving an estimated $703.8 million from taxpayers in the current state budget (which took effect on July 1).  The school has been plagued in recent years by declining enrollment – specifically an 11.4 percent drop over the past five years and a 2 percent decline in the current fiscal year.

The Commission on Higher Education (SCCHE) says those numbers will climb in the future, but we’re skeptical.

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Sources close to the school have told us its budget is under intense strain at the moment – which is curious considering we are only halfway through with the current fiscal year.  It’s also curious considering the institution is moving full speed ahead with a number of different capital projects.

Stay tuned … as soon as we get an update on the situation we’ll be sure to pass it along to our readers.

Whatever is happening at this school, we would like to reiterate our long-standing view regarding the need for South Carolina to privatize its bloated, duplicative and wasteful system of higher education.

Whether schools are maximizing resources or not, higher education is simply not a core function of government … particularly not the way it’s done in the Palmetto State.

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