Orange County Seal

By Nicole Santa Cruz
May 8, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Orange County may owe the state as much as $150 million after a judge tentatively ruled this week that it must pay back funds originally meant for local schools and community colleges.

The lawsuit, filed by the state, alleges that county officials broke the law when they redirected the funds. The money fight erupted in 2011, when the county lost money in vehicle license fees and redirected tax funds that were supposed to go to schools.

“We’re pleased with the court’s ruling because it affirms that the county’s withholding of property tax from schools was illegal” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman with the state Department of Finance.

The move could have reduced funding to community colleges by $12 million to $15 million per year, a cost that would have been passed along to the schools statewide, according to documents.

To read entire story, click here.