Sumter County Board of Education gives insight into 2021-22 budget

Published 10:21 am Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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The Sumter County Board of Education (BOE) set the agenda for May’s voting meeting on Monday, 5.10.21. While tentative and will require several more confirmations, the budget for next school year is set to be approximately $36.1 million. This reflects both a balanced budget as well as a sustained mill rate. There is no expected change for the tax rate for property owners.  Additionally, the financial report for this month will reflect the BOE is effective in their financial duties.

The committee reports continued throughout the meeting, some of which required additional conversation. Curriculum issues were discussed although the committee will be bringing nothing for action. Mr. Knighton addressed the BOE regarding summer school options. The data indicates some items of concern and the administration is working diligently to ensure the students meet their educational goals. Summer school will be offered in a hybrid format, with some exceptions. Those students who have had attendance problems will not be offered the remote learning option. There is a maximum capacity of students who can receive summer instruction. Sumter County Schools administrators will keep this in mind as they look at the logistics to ensure each student is accommodated.

There will be recommendations regarding policy at the voting meeting. The policy is regarding attendance. The property committee has several items coming up for a vote. The personnel committee went into executive session, however there was no voting action after the BOE met back in open session. Chairman Rick Barnes addressed Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) assessments which will be coming to Sumter County by solar farm industries. While the BOE had accepted a 15% payment in the past, Barnes indicated future payments will need to be discussed and an agreement made between the BOE and the Sumter County Board of Commissioners. The Sumter County Payroll Development Authority has brokered the deal, however, they have no input on how the PILOT is administered.

To begin the meeting, the BOE heard a construction update on Sumter County High School. The school is on target to meet its opening date. Jerry Harmon of the Sumter County Fire Department requested the BOE consider letting a state-wide firefighter training be held at the new high school in September. Chief Harmon will confirm the specifics of the meeting needs and keep the request in front of the BOE.