Sumter School District proposes closing three schools

Posted 3/12/18

Each would be consolidated into another larger nearby rural school

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Sumter School District proposes closing three schools


Sumter School District Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm proposed closing three low-enrollment schools at the end of this school year during a public meeting with the Board of Trustees on Monday.

The administration’s school consolidation proposal involves moving the students in Rafting Creek Elementary School, F.J. DeLaine Elementary School and Mayewood Middle School into other larger public schools in those rural parts of Sumter County.

The three larger schools would offer expanded academic programs to all students. The maximum distance for students to travel from a proposed consolidated school to a new school is six miles in Hamm’s proposal.

The proposal, which Hamm emphasized could be changed later after community input, includes merging Rafting Creek in Rembert into Hillcrest Middle School in Dalzell and creating a kindergarten-through-eighth grade school.

Students from Mayewood would be consolidated into R.E. Davis Elementary School, which would also become a K-8 school in the eastern portion of the county. Mayewood Middle is two miles from R.E. Davis.

F.J. DeLaine in Wedgefield would close, and students would go to Cherryvale Elementary School, which is three miles away, and remain an elementary school.

Hamm said she wants to gather community input on the administration’s proposal in four “community conversation” sessions to be held later this week and next week.

The community sessions are scheduled for Thursday in the Sumter High School Commons Area, Monday at Cherryvale Elementary School, Tuesday at R.E. Davis Elementary and Thursday, March 22, at Hillcrest Middle School. All sessions are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

By the district’s calculations, the consolidation proposal would generate about $3.6 million in cost savings during the first three years to invest in additional educational opportunities for students, Hamm said.

About 150 residents were in attendance Monday night at the board meeting.