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Elkhorn Schools hire legal counsel in effort to recoup incorrect in-lieu of tax payments

Posted at 7:25 AM, Sep 13, 2022

ELKHORN, Neb (KMTV) — Earlier this year, a state audit of the Douglas County Treasurer’s office found big problems in the way some in-lieu of tax payments were being calculated for schools.

The error reportedly cost the Elkhorn School District to miss out on $4 million dollars in payments and now the district is looking to get the money it was owed.

“The county has corrected that calculation of distribution in 2022; however, the underpayments from years prior to 2022 have not been corrected,” said Elkhorn Public School superintendent Bary Habrock.

How Elkhorn plans to get that money back still remains to be seen but the signs are pointing to a potential lawsuit.

Westside Schools have already filed their own lawsuit to recover the money they were owed and at their board meeting Monday night, the Elkhorn School Board passed a resolution that would allow the superintendent to retain legal counsel to pursue legal remedies.

“The Elkhorn Board of Education authorizes the Superintendent to take any and all action necessary to effectuate this resolution and authorizes the retention of the law firm McGrath North, PC LLO to represent the District in connection with the resolution of claims and/or the pursuit of legal remedies including potential litigation,” said Dr. Jadi Miller, assistant superintendent for Elkhorn Public Schools.

The board might be signaling an impending lawsuit but that doesn’t mean it isn’t keeping its options open for other possible remedies for the missing payments.

“The district is also committed to pursue non-litigious means for purposes of recovering amounts owed to the District and authorizes the Superintendent and legal counsel to seek a resolution of the claims against the Douglas County Treasurer,” said Dr. Miller.

Right now, Westside is the only one of the four school districts affected that has filed a lawsuit, though this move from Elkhorn means that could be changing soon. The other districts who missed out on payments were Elkhorn, Ralston, Millard and Westside.

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