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Civil fines going to NC schools would exceed $600 million

RALEIGH (AP) -- A Superior Court judge says the state should give most of the civil penalties collected over almost 10 years to the public schools to comply with a state Supreme Court decision. That's likely to require a payout exceeding $600 million. Judge Howard Manning stopped short in a Wake County courtroom on Thursday of ordering the payment, saying there are details that won't be worked out until after late January, including the final bill. The final amount would be paid over several years. Data provided by state agencies shows that Manning's ultimate ruling will require lawmakers and state agencies to pay at least $600 million. The state collected $768 million from several types of fees between 1996 and mid-2005 for everything from university parking tickets to late tax payments. But state agencies didn't hand over that money to local school districts or later, to a special fund. The Supreme Court said in 2005 the agencies were wrong and ordered a trial court to come up with the final amount the state had to pay. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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