Sumter School District Board of Trustees member Lucille McQuilla announced she will not be seeking re-election to the Area 3 seat on the board.
Reading from a prepared statement on Friday, McQuilla said she enjoyed serving the children of Sumter …
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Filing closes for the non-partisan Sumter School Board and Sumter City Council seats next week on Aug. 15.
Filing is held at the Sumter County Voter Registration Office, 141 N. Main St., in the former county courthouse building.
Reading from a prepared statement on Friday, McQuilla said she enjoyed serving the children of Sumter County as a public educator for more than 30 years and now for four years as a board member but that she will not be filing for the non-partisan seat in the November general election.
In her actions as a board member, McQuilla said she made each decision in the best interest of children and showed no special allegiance to former district Superintendent Frank Baker, who was previously her boss when she was an employee in the former Sumter School District 2.
That accusation of favoritism by board members to Baker was made early last year by black pastors who are members of the Concerned Clergy of Sumter County after the revelation of the district's financial crisis.
In December 2016, the fiscal 2016 audit report showed the district overspent by $6.2 million that year and had an ending general fund balance on June 30, 2016, of $106,449 - a critically low level, according to the district's auditor at the time.
After the financial difficulties, some pastors said board members were trying to save Baker's job.
"Contrary to what was said in The Item by a few of the Concerned Clergymen, I have given my life to public education and the children of Sumter County," McQuilla said. "I owe no allegiance to any special-interest group or persons in Sumter. My primary interest has been, and will continue to be, what is best for the children in Sumter County."
It was determined by an outside consultant last year that the crisis was because of unbudgeted hiring and a lack of proper communication between the district's finance and human resources departments.
Since then, the district has created a new chief financial officer position, a new interim superintendent is in the place, and the district has improved its financial position with an estimated fund balance now of about $6 million.
McQuilla said she's happy the district is back on sound financial footing and hopes competent people will always be employed in the district's business office and schools.
"I'm prepared for another chapter in my life," McQuilla said. "Also, I would like to spend more time with my grandchildren who live in Maryland because a month after I was elected to the school board [four years ago], my only child passed away."
As of press time, three candidates have filed for the Area 3 seat on the board: Josh Coleman, John Shipman and Matthew "Mac" McLeod.
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