As a concerned citizen of Sumter, I'm writing about the Sumter School District and events of the past week. Last Monday, the Board of Trustees voted to reopen Mayewood Middle School - an improper and illegal vote. Dr. Hamm's absence from and the published agenda of Wednesday's special meeting led to community speculation concerning her status.
We need Dr. Hamm, now more than ever before. The school board and its predecessors have subjected our district, its teachers and our students to devastating turmoil with continued ineffectual leadership, improper fiscal restraint and continued poor decision-making since first selecting Mr. Bynum and later Dr. Baker as district superintendent.
With the recent selection of Dr. Hamm, only then did we see a glimmer of hope for the future. Dr. Hamm is moving our district in the right direction as we search for a new superintendent.
I believe last Monday's actions were carefully orchestrated by certain board members. Unfortunately, Chairman Canty did not foresee this and was ineffectual in taking control of the meeting.
At a community forum, the search consultant hired by the district told us the board was advised to eliminate these disruptions and chaos. The board was told by both their consulting firm and the community a fresh leadership perspective is required to fix the mess this board has created. We do not need another insider for superintendent, a move not in the district's best interest. The board needs to follow the suggestions of the consultant firm they hired.
This board must now lead our district through the selection of a new superintendent who will reverse the turmoil and financial troubles currently plaguing our district. As noted by the superintendent search consultant hired by the district, selection of a properly qualified superintendent is key to Sumter's future economic well-being and community success.
Please contact your elected representatives on behalf of our teachers and students who are the future of this community.
I urge everyone to attend school board meetings and tell the board to get this right.
BRYAN J. FUNKE, M.D.
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