Letter to the editor: Education is key to having a great quality of life


The United States of America was built on the commonwealth and common defense for this country. The purpose written by Thomas Jefferson was "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Since July 4, 1776, the citizens of this country have worked to perfect and obtain the above goals by amending the Constitutions enacting laws and passing acts. I will write letters to the editor in the next seven months to start a dialogue with the citizens of Sumter in the hope that we can unite Sumter so our citizens, especially our children in Sumter, can fully enjoy unalienable rights endowed by their Creator. We have to communicate with all citizens in this goal and can no longer have a small group of people making decisions for everyone. I want to start the conversation with education.

In order to have a great quality of life, education is the key factor. Improving education in Sumter County improves the quality of life and opportunities, especially for our children. The questions for elected and individuals seeking our vote should be: What have you done or will do to improve education in Sumter? A small group of people have decided to spend $200 million of our tax dollars on a new high school in Sumter over the next 10 years. This group never fully explained what the projected enrollment or expected graduation rate of this new technology high school nor presented any other alternatives. This group is also doing what they can to take away parents' choice to send their children to other schools in the county. In April, the local school district is taking applications for open enrollment. There is no explanation or assurance that Sumter will follow the federal court decision of April 1965(1). The court ordered Sumter to have racially balanced schools.

I believe that Sumter residents should not support or vote for the penny sales tax unless a portion of the revenue is used for local school district and charter school education. An alternative can be a penny sales tax for county capital projects and a penny sales tax to go to our schools.

It broke my heart when at the March 25, 2024 school board meeting, board members called the children in the district lazy and dumb. What was truly heartbreaking was none of the adults in the meeting demanded an apology. I would respectfully ask the board to clarify the statements and issue an apology Publicly to students at each school. I truly believe parents should have school choice to include sending their children to a charter school. I believe groups in Sumter should have the opportunity to form a charter school. In the last ten year a team of people has planned to limit charter schools in Sumter. Sumter County has spent about ten million dollars on and around Patriot Parkway. I see a number of problems using public tax dollars in locating a school on Patriot Parkway and Loring Mill Road. The issue of a charter school must be a non-profit organization2. Secondly charter schools do not provide transportation. Therefore how do children get to this school daily if they live on the east side of Sumter?

People of goodwill let us come together to Unite Sumter.

  1. Jame E. Randall et al. v. Sumter School District Two case number AC-1240 https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/241/787/1951025/