OPINION: Sumter community deserves to know the why of the school board's decision


There is one lingering question on our community's mind since the vote on Jan. 28; why? Let's forget for a moment that the vote which took place was illegal and how it was ever allowed to come to a vote. The primary topic of conversation is how can a decision like this be made without considerable discussion?

The Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce supported last year's "Expanding Opportunities" school consolidation proposal, which included the closure of Mayewood Middle School and the merging of those students with the students at R.E. Davis Elementary School. This merger created a College Preparatory Academy at R.E. Davis which helps to better prepare our students for their future.

If the school board believes that the reopening of Mayewood Middle School would be in the best interests of everyone involved, then we ask before any vote take place to explain all the underlying benefits of the decision to the community.

It has been said by a few board members that "it is about more than money." If that is so, then please explain how the reopening of the old Mayewood Middle School will be more beneficial than the current consolidation and creation of a K-8 College Preparatory Academy at the R.E. Davis campus.

With Mayewood Middle and R.E. Davis only being 2 miles' distance from each other, it is certainly not about issues involving transportation. We know it is not about enrollment, as Mayewood Middle was one of the lowest-enrollment schools in the district. We know it is not about educating our students as the quality of education they are receiving now is equal to, if not greater than, what they were receiving separately. If the decision is "more than just about money," then what is the advantage?

Please explain in detail why there is an advantage. Regardless of the why, it has become a financial decision and one that appears to create a greater amount of financial stress to an already financially stressed school district.

The community deserves to hear persuasive, logical and analytical reasons as to the benefits of this decision. We urge the school board to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students, teachers, administration and the community.