After sitting in silence for several moments when asked for a motion regarding Sumter School District's request for a 5.48-mill increase request, Sumter County Council voted 5-2 to deny the request.
Council Chairman Jim McCain and Councilwoman …
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Council Chairman Jim McCain and Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney voted in favor of the motion.
Vice Chairman Jimmy Byrd, and Councilmen Chris Sumpter, Artie Baker, Gene Baten and Charles Edens voted in opposition.
Fleming-McGhaney made the motion to approve the request, and Baten seconded it - he said for the purpose of discussing the millage increase - before voting in opposition.
Fleming-McGhaney said she received confirmation from the South Carolina Ethics Commission to participate in the decision-making despite working for the school district because she did not stand to make personal gains from the increase if it were approved.
The school district intended to use the mill increase, equal to about $1,057,121, to create five new teaching positions with benefits, valued at $400,000; hire a grant writer/development coordinator, valued at $80,000; to hire a technology project manager, valued at $75,000; and to add the remaining $502,121 to the district's fund balance to build toward one month's operating expenses.
After the 5.48-mill increase was denied, McCain made a motion to approve 2.88 mills - enough to fund the seven positions - which was again denied 5-2 by the same lines.
"Those three items," he said about the three staff categories, "are just for the schools and just for our kids."
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