BREAKING: Sumter school board votes to close two schools


In a 5-3 split vote, Sumter School District’s Board of Trustees passed the district administration’s revised consolidation proposal on Tuesday night to close two low-enrollment schools and merge them into other larger schools in the same areas of the county.

With the vote in favor of Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm’s revised proposal, Mayewood Middle School in the eastern portion of the county and F.J. DeLaine Elementary School in Wedgefield will close at the end of this school year.

According to the proposal, Mayewood will consolidate into R.E. Davis Elementary School, located two miles away, next school year as a K-8 magnet school, and F.J. DeLaine will consolidate into Cherryvale Elementary School, three miles away, as a combined K-5 elementary school. Cherryvale will have a science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) concentration.  

The five board members who voted in favor of Hamm’s revised proposal were Johnny Hilton, William Byrd, Bonnie Disney, Lucille McQuilla and the Rev. Ralph Canty. The three board members who voted against the motion were Barbara Jackson, Linda Alston and board Chairman the Rev. Daryl McGhaney. Board member Karen Michalik didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting due to an illness.

The revised consolidation proposal differed from the original proposal, which additionally called for the closure of Rafting Creek Elementary School in Rembert. After an independent consultant’s study said major upgrades would be necessary to support more students at Hillcrest Middle School in Dalzell, the potential closure of Rafting Creek was taken off the table two weeks ago at a board meeting. Rafting Creek will remain open at least for next school year.

Tuesday’s meeting was at Lakewood High School’s fine arts center. About 40 community members attended the board meeting.