Sumter school board votes to reopen Mayewood Middle School after hours of open, closed discussions


Sumter School District’s Board of Trustees voted 6-3 about midnight tonight to reopen Mayewood Middle School next year after a nearly six-hour meeting.

The vote was made shortly after the board returned to open session at 11:58 p.m. Monday. The meeting started at 6 p.m.

Board members Brian Alston, Frank Baker, Barbara Jackson, the Rev. Daryl McGhaney, Matthew “Mac” McLeod and Sherril Ray voted in favor of reopening the East Brewington Road school in the rural eastern portion of the county.

Board Chairman the Rev. Ralph Canty, Johnny Hilton and Shawn Ragin voted against the motion.

The full board – albeit one composed of five different trustees before the November midterm election – voted 10 months ago in April 2018 to close Mayewood and consolidate the school into a K-8 magnet school less than two miles away on the campus of R.E. Davis Elementary School. The school was renamed R.E. Davis College Preparatory Academy before this school year.

The board and district administration said at the time the consolidation was due to low enrollment at Mayewood and as a way to save money as the district was emerging from a financial crisis in fiscal 2016. 

Two weeks ago, on Jan. 28, the same six board members voted to reopen Mayewood in a vote, which was later pointed out to be impermissible and illegal by the lawyer for the South Carolina Press Association because a motion before the vote was neither listed on the agenda nor amended and added to the agenda before the vote.

About 180 members of the general public were in attendance at Monday’s meeting, and nearly 20 signed up beforehand to speak during public participation.

The meeting concluded at 12:02 a.m. in front of about 10 audience members.