Letter to the editor: Sumter: A Tale of Two Educational Systems


I must first state what I believe is the purpose of public education. Public education is funded by public money and should provide our children with the basic skills of reading, writing, arithmetic and in the 21st Century computer science. Secondly, to be clear, my family's children attend private schools. Senior members of my family attended Sumter schools in District 17. We as a community must examine the state of Sumter School District. The problems that exist with our school system and how we can work together to make it the best school system in the world.

Let us start off right, by welcoming our new school district superintendent. Let us offer whatever assistances the superintendent requests to make our school system the best in the world. I would suggest that he consider making a full report and have an open public hearing at the October school board meeting: 1) The results of an outstate accounting firm to conduct an audit and inventory of school property. 2) The district is fully committed to the STEM program and Americans with Disabilities Act for students and staff1. 3) The status and outcome of all pending legal suits and complaint against the district. I would ask the superintendent to bring back the PAL Academy and make it fee based. We can no longer allow a few children to stop other children from getting an education. Please consider making Chestnut Middle a district charter school.

One cornerstone of any community is education. It was said that "Wealth is the result of the Commonwealth." I was not surprised but extremely disappointed that only one of our county councilmembers voted against not to fund our school district. This vote should tell voters what Sumter County Council and staff think of your children. Yet all councilmembers voted to again rob poor people with the penny sales tax. God's people and people of good will should vote and work together to defeat the sales tax referendum.

We understand not all children will become a neurological or cardiac surgeon. It is the parents' and voters' responsibility to ensure that all children are given a fair and equitable opportunity for an education. It is up to the child to maximize their gift and opportunity. On Nov. 8, 2022, the people of Sumter can elect nine school board members that make our schools a place where our children can compete and succeed in the 21st Century and the new global economy.



1. Kenny W. Rose Plaintiff, vs. Sumter County School District, and in her individual capacity Bertha M. Timmons. Filed in Third Circuit Court on Feb. 5, 2020.