Sumter County Board of Education discusses needed repairs and upgrades

Published 12:40 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2022

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The Sumter County Board of Education (BOE) met for their work session on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, at 100 Learning Lane. Carolyn Hamilton and EJ Jackson were not present, and Sylvia Roland chaired the meeting.

Abbis Bivins presented several policies which Superintendent Walter Knighton explained to the BOE. One of these policies included fundraisers, specifically, raffles. Door to door selling by students is prohibited. Fundraisers will need to be approved by the superintendent and the BOE.

Vincent Kearse presented property concerns. Three buses and one truck were moved to surplus. Purchase of a new mower was approved. Over $72,000 was approved to scrape and paint several items at Finklea-Robinson Stadium. Kearse then presented items which administration desired to see added or restored. Rick Barnes, in looking at the accumulated list, addressed his desire to see the BOE “take action” on some items which were identified as needed on several of the Sumter County Schools’ property. Some items which were needed on all campuses were cameras, security for exterior doors and lighting. Barnes then reviewed the extensive assessment done by the engineer and architect in regard to the Sumter County Middle School. Barnes reviewed the needs line by line, and the grand presented total was close to $8 million. The BOE will be tasked with deciding the priority of each of the items which included but were not limited to electric, plumbing, athletic facilities, paving, painting and roofing. At current, the BOE has $2 million to put towards infrastructure. Another consideration for the board is the timing of making the changes as some of the tasks will need to take place when students do not occupy the building. As Barnes reports, the “challenge” is in understanding the job and costs associated, determining which ones are the most pressing and then timing it with consideration of when the building will be empty. Knighton will be taking immediate action to get with the contractor to investigate the needs further.

Cyber security was brought forth by Patricia Harris as chair of the technology committee. Knighton further explained what the $25,000 requested would cover. Barnes remarked the item seemed to be priced low and wanted to determine if the proposed service would cover what is needed for insurance purposes. Knighton assures the BOE it is what is needed.

The BOE went into executive session for further items. The regular meeting of the BOE will take place on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at 100 Learning Lane. Items placed on consent agenda as well as any other item requiring a vote will take place. The regular meeting is open to the public and can be viewed on the Sumter County Schools’ Facebook page.