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Brewington move is likely next step for Sumter School District

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 5/19/19

With the closure of Mayewood Middle School now settled, Sumter School District Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm and school board Chairman the Rev. Ralph Canty say moving the district's alternative instructional program, which was housed at …

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Brewington move is likely next step for Sumter School District

Posted

With the closure of Mayewood Middle School now settled, Sumter School District Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm and school board Chairman the Rev. Ralph Canty say moving the district's alternative instructional program, which was housed at Mayewood, is a next step to work on.

Hamm and Canty spoke last week after the district's board of trustees voted 5-3-1 on Monday to approve the administration's new financial recovery plan to include middle school students remaining at this year's newly named R.E. Davis K-8 College Preparatory Academy.

After the school board voted to close Mayewood in April 2018, middle-schoolers moved to the R.E. Davis Elementary School campus, which is less than two miles away, this school year. However, Brewington Academy, the district's alternative school for middle and high school children with disciplinary issues, remained open on the Mayewood campus after administration couldn't find a suitable facility to house the program last year.

Brewington's enrollment fluctuates because it's considered a short-term educational setting, but its current student total is about 200, according to a district spokeswoman.

After the school board's five-member changeover in the November mid-term election, several trustees on the revamped board who pushed for reopening Mayewood this spring pointed to the fact that the school was still active because Brewington still operated on the campus.

Unlike F.J. DeLaine Elementary School in Wedgefield - which fully closed last year and was consolidated into nearby Cherryvale Elementary School - Mayewood was still operational this year.

Hamm said because reopening Mayewood was on the table this spring, moving Brewington became a moot point until Monday's final vote.

Canty said he thinks the board is now ready to do something different with Brewington to resolve the Mayewood issue for good.

"A disposition of Brewington Academy is critical to resolving the Mayewood issue," Canty said. "Moving the alternative school out of the building and closing the building is a necessary step at this point."

Canty also said the board is looking forward to receiving a recommendation for moving Brewington at its next board meeting, which is scheduled for June 10.

Hamm has noted previously that moving Brewington to another campus will help the district achieve its full cost savings from closing Mayewood and said she does plan to make that recommendation at the June board meeting.