Consolidation proposal to be presented by Sumter School District Superintendent Hamm

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 3/8/18

Sumter School District's Board of Trustees has changed its meeting location for Monday's regularly scheduled monthly board meeting to Sumter High School's Commons Area. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

The board meeting was originally scheduled …

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Consolidation proposal to be presented by Sumter School District Superintendent Hamm

Posted

Sumter School District's Board of Trustees has changed its meeting location for Monday's regularly scheduled monthly board meeting to Sumter High School's Commons Area. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

The board meeting was originally scheduled for Shaw Heights Elementary School. On Wednesday morning, district staff sent out an agenda listing Lakewood High School's Fine Arts Center for Monday's meeting site.

By Wednesday afternoon, the district changed the site again to Sumter High's Commons Area, 2580 McCrays Mill Road.

Highlighting Monday's agenda is a school consolidation proposal that will be presented by interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm to the full board titled "Expanding Opportunities for Students."

The board of trustees and district staff are weighing best alternatives to address the district's low general fund balance of $885,579 as of June 30, 2017, after financial difficulties in both fiscal 2015 and '16.

A new state law - passed last year - calls for public school districts to have one month's operating expenses in their general fund balance. For Sumter School District's $131 million budget this fiscal year, one month's operating expenses translates to $10.9 million.

Last year, the full board voted down a motion from its advisory Finance Committee to close two low-enrollment schools in a 4-2 split vote.

Two independent consulting firms are conducting a facilities' assessment study of all the district's schools and a population demographics study to forecast future enrollment trends at each school. The board unanimously approved for Hamm to pursue those studies.

Hamm has served as interim superintendent since Aug. 1.