18 of 21 school board candidates attend Meet the Candidates Night at Crestwood

Event designed as 2 panel discussions with opening statement followed by questions

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 10/24/18

Eighteen of the 21 candidates running for six available seats on the Sumter School Board took to the stage Tuesday night to answer platform questions about topics including teacher pay and the …

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18 of 21 school board candidates attend Meet the Candidates Night at Crestwood

Event designed as 2 panel discussions with opening statement followed by questions

Posted

Eighteen of the 21 candidates running for six available seats on the Sumter School Board took to the stage Tuesday night to answer platform questions about topics including teacher pay and the district’s search for its next superintendent.

Four area seats (Areas 1, 2, 3 and 4) are on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, as well as the two at-large seats on the nine-member nonpartisan school board.

After an hour-long meet-and-greet session at Crestwood High School, 12 of the 13 candidates for the four area seats sat for a panel discussion from 6 to 7 p.m. All candidates were allowed to make an initial opening statement before each answered four questions in a randomized format.

A second panel discussion ensued from 7 to 8 p.m. for the two at-large candidates on the board. Six of the eight attended.

In a similar format, each at-large candidate was allowed to make an opening statement and then answered questions in a random format. With less at-large candidates on the second panel but with still an hour-long session, each candidate was able to answer six questions.

Members of the Sumter Teacher Forum planned the event so that no candidates knew the questions beforehand. The list of the questions was provided to each candidate at their seats when they sat down for their panel.

Questions were designed based on what it considered were the big topics of interest for voters in the upcoming election. The forum consists of about 50 top classroom teachers who are Sumter School District’s current and last year’s teachers of the year.

One area seat candidate -- Charles Smith (District 2) -- and two at-large seat candidates -- incumbent William Byrd and challenger Shawn Ragin -- didn’t attend Tuesday’s meet-the-candidates night.

About 200 people attended the event.

Check the website later today for more details on Tuesday night’s forum, including how candidates responded to questions asked.