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Sumter School District trustees will hold public hearing, vote on charter school in virtual meeting

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 3/31/20

A public hearing and board vote on a charter school that is seeking sponsorship through the district will be held during Sumter School District's Board of Trustees' first-ever virtual board meeting scheduled for Monday.

A district spokeswoman …

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Sumter School District trustees will hold public hearing, vote on charter school in virtual meeting

Posted

A public hearing and board vote on a charter school that is seeking sponsorship through the district will be held during Sumter School District's Board of Trustees' first-ever virtual board meeting scheduled for Monday.

A district spokeswoman distributed a draft agenda for the April 6 meeting on Monday, and board Chairman the Rev. Ralph Canty spoke briefly to The Sumter Item about the meeting.

BRAG Literacy STRrEAM Institute, led by Anderson County resident Gary Burgess, is one of three locally proposed charters that submitted applications in this year's cycle to open in fall 2021 and is the only one to seek sponsorship through the district.

The other two proposed charters for Sumter County - New Journey Institute and Sumter STEAM Charter School - are seeking sponsorship through other educational entities.

According to the state Department of Education, each sponsor must have a board vote on its proposed charter by May 1, and Canty said a board vote is expected at the meeting.

BRAG would begin as a school for pre-K through third grade and would add a grade each subsequent year through eighth grade, Burgess previously said.

New Journey Institute - led by Sumter residents Rebecca Brooks, a Richland School District One educator, and Shekia Bradford, a small-business owner - applied through both the state Public Charter School District and the Charter Institute at Erskine, associated with Erskine College.

Sumter STEAM Charter School, led by local private business owner Greg Thompson, applied through the state district.

Anyone wishing to speak Monday during the BRAG charter's public hearing at the virtual board meeting must register by emailing district staff member Amy Hansen at amy.hansen@sumterschools.net or calling (803) 469-6900, extension 100, by 6 p.m. Friday, according to the agenda.

All people wishing to attend the meeting virtually may do so via YouTube Sumter School District Board Meetings and Sumter School District's Facebook page.

The agenda notes that in compliance with recent public health orders, no members of the public will be able to attend Monday's meeting in person. Shelly Galloway, the district's executive director of communication and community engagement, confirmed the meeting will be the board's first virtual meeting.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Both New Journey and Sumter STEAM have also said they will initially pursue an early elementary school emphasis. Board votes by those respective sponsors - the state Public Charter School District and the Charter Institute at Erskine - should also be during April.

Of note, public participation has been temporarily suspended for Monday's board meeting because it's a virtual meeting, and the public is not able to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MONDAY VIRTUAL BOARD MEETING

In compliance with recent public health orders, no members of the public will be able to attend Monday's meeting in person. All people wishing to attend the meeting virtually may do so via YouTube Sumter School District Board Meetings and Sumter School District's Facebook page. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

MONDAY VIRTUAL PUBLIC HEARING

Anyone wishing to speak on Monday during BRAG Literacy STRrEAM Institute's public hearing at the board meeting must register by emailing district staff member Amy Hansen, at amy.hansen@sumterschools.net or calling (803) 469-6900, extension 100, by 6 p.m. Friday.

PROPOSED CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR SUMTER COUNTY FOR 2021

- BRAG Literacy STRrEAM Institute, Sumter School District

- New Journey Institute Charter Institute at Erskine, S.C. public charter school district

- Sumter STEAM Charter School, S.C. public charter school district