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Sumter BOE approves $5M TAN

By BETH ALSTON
beth.alston@americustimesrecorder.com
www.americustimesrecorder.com

AMERICUS — Donnie Smith, Sumter County School superintendent, recognized several people from Sumter County Middle School at the regular monthly meeting of the Sumter County Board of Education Thursday night.
He introduced each of the REACH (realizing educational achievement can happen) Scholars: Kierra Williams, Keyandria Green and Alex Sanchez. (Read more about them here next week). Smith also recognized a parent from the school, Dexter Cliatt, for his continued involvement and leadership, and a teacher, Inez Wiggins, for her excellence in teaching and love of learning that she imparts to her students.
The board took action on the following matters Thursday.
• Approved a TAN (tax anticipation note) for $5 million.
• Approved personnel matters: Alyssa Larkins (resignation); Emily Nix, Andrew Walker, Norbert Ingram, Henry Clark, James Wiggins and Gerald Shaw (hires); and Clara Luster, Ansleigh Parks, Tom Detitta and Amy Hamrick (Family Medical Leave).
• Approved surplusing a 1991 Ford truck to be listed on GovDeals.
• Approved the low bid of $13,607 from Shiver Lumber Co. for carpet at Sumter County Middle School. The school system’s maintenance department will install the carpeting, saving the taxpayers $2,500.
• Renewed a three-contract for an Internet content filter in the amount of $34,720.
Board chair Mike Busman was absent; Meda Krenson, vice chair, presided at the meeting. The board voted to go into closed session at the end of the open meeting. Krenson said they did not expect to come back out and vote on anything.

Notes from the work session
The board held its monthly work session on Monday.
Two people were on the agenda to address the board.
Jerry Sanders spoke about how great the local school system is. He and his wife have two children in the system.
Emmanuel Vincent, principal of the Furlow Charter School, gave an update on the first three months of the new charter school. He related to the board several facts about the charter school: It is a regular public school, part of the system; it has a very diverse student body; visitors are brought into the school to interact with students and see how learning happens; about 90 percent of the charter school’s parents are vested in the school and volunteer at the school; the school has a fully functional Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and money raised goes back into the school; the charter school provides a different aspect for students to learn.
Vincent invited all the board members and the public to come and visit the charter school.
Board member Jim Reid wanted to know why Vincent referred to the charter school students as “scholars”? The principal attempted to explain that the students are scholars in the sense that the students are nurtured in learning from the very start, but Reid interrupted, insisting that referring to the students as scholars “reduces the value of the word ‘scholar’ because they haven’t achieved anything.”
Board member Alice Green questioned Vincent about how the charter school is supposed to be entirely different from the other schools in the system.
Vincent mentioned a few highlights such as “oversized community involvement,” and hiring practices which include potential employees being interviewed by students and parents as well as peers.
Green said she didn’t want to know about all that, she wanted to know about “curriculum, curriculum.” Vincent said she had asked him to talk about the school, and that he had.
Board member Rick Barnes, chairman of the curriculum committee, reported that in “teacher leadership keys,” all the schools in the system were at 100 percent, excepting Furlow Charter School, which was at 96 percent.
“Let’s make this a personnel issue,” Barnes said, “not a political issue. Zeroes will not be accepted. Let’s make sure we know how to correct that by Thursday. That’s a reflection of our district.”
Superintendent Smith said there were several components and it should be a committee issue.
“It is unique,” he said, “because it’s the first year we have a charter school. The board of education approved the local charter, but I’m not superintendent of that charter. They hire and spend their own funds. It is a unique situation.”
Victoria Harris, assistant superintendent, said, “I’ve done what I need to do to get this done; Furlow Charter School was given the same deadlines, that are not being met.”
Barnes directed the superintendent to “work on this.”