School board decides to meet today


With the forecast for Hurricane Irma's arrival set for early next week in the state, Sumter School District's Board of Trustees has moved its regular scheduled board meeting from Monday to today at 5 p.m. at the district office.

Highlights on the board meeting agenda - which was distributed to the media Thursday afternoon - include the school board's attorney providing legal advice to the trustees on various matters regarding the district's financial position. Those discussions will be held in executive session behind closed doors, but the meeting agenda does list the board plans to take action on that advice after returning to open session tonight.

That action may include formally charging district administration, led by Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm, to develop options in a multi-year cost-savings plan for the board to consider in order to build the district's fund balance back up.

The district's financial difficulties first came to light in December with the release of the 2016 audit report, which revealed the district overspent by $6.2 million that year and had an ending general fund balance on June 30, 2016, of $106,449 - a critically low level, according to the district's auditor.

After an emergency financial plan was implemented in January, the district has projected to end fiscal year 2017, after all accruals, with a year-end surplus of about $405,964, according to Chief Financial Officer Chris Griner.

That total for fiscal 2017 will be added to the ending fund balance from fiscal 2016 to give the district a projected total ending fund balance as of June 30, 2017, of about $500,000.

Today's agenda also includes Griner presenting to the board a preliminary fiscal year 2017 financial report, which should provide a more precise total of what the year-end surplus is for fiscal 2017, after all accruals.

Griner will also provide the board a revised capital projects list totaling about $10.7 million for this school year, according to the agenda.

Hamm will also provide a district update to the board. She started as interim superintendent on Aug. 1.

The public is invited to attend today's meeting, and public participation is also listed on the agenda.



Sumter School District Board of Trustees' Meeting

When: Today, 5 p.m.

Where: District office, 1345 Wilson Hall Road