Sumter County Schools’ employees receive $1000 in hazard pay, Ignite CCA transportation needs go undiscussed

Published 6:27 am Monday, December 12, 2022

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Tracy K. Hall

The Sumter County Board of Education (BOE) met for their regular meeting on 12.08.22. Superintendent Walter Knighton gave his report which included SPLOST funding bringing in about $425,000 for the month. These monies are collected through one of the sales “penny taxes” which the public voted on at the ballot box. SPLOST funds help offset the costs of the BOE budget without demanding a raise in taxes which only property owners pay. The Georgia Power bill was about $34, 000. Sumter EMC bill was about $32, 000. The payment for water related expenses was about $12,000. And a bill from the City of Americus was $21,000. Cell phone bills were close to $2,000. The millage rate is 18.165. The budget is about 40.7 million dollars. In regard to COVID, one confirmed case was confirmed the week of Thanksgiving. The following week, two were confirmed positive. Last week the BOE went to the Georgia School Board annual conference. The highlights of the meeting were shared via a video clip highlighting some Sumter County Schools (SCS) professionals.

The BOE gave the floor to entities and people who work and learn within SCS. First up were student, parent volunteer, teacher and support staff recognitions. Following were first nine-week exemplary students, the district staff recognition, “All Knighton Team” recognition and finally BOE recognition. Included in this group was Joan Tovar-Martinez, who has brought home a national award and was named the Georgia College and Career Academy (CCA) student of the year. Ignite CCA is in its second year of operation and is among 52 other CCAs in the state. Joan encouraged students to take advantage of the offerings of the school and thanked his God, his family, the CCA and FFA staff and SCS employees. The superintendent’s report and recognitions took about an hour to complete and the BOE went about the business of the night.

The agenda and consent agenda were unanimously approved. Under committees, there was no action in the open meeting. Under new business a “hazard pay” amount of $1000 for all employees of SCS was recommended by Knighton. The monies would come from COVID related funding. Long term substitutes, faculty and staff would be included in this recommendation. The recommendation was approved unanimously.

The BOE went into executive session and upon coming back into open meeting addressed personnel issues. There were three releases from contracts, three resignations, 6 employments, one long term substitute, one third party contractor, and one Family Medical Leave Act approved. The motion passed unanimously.

There has been no mention of the ongoing transportation issue which the CCA is facing in order to get students to their workplace study site. The CCA relies heavily on work-based experiences to accomplish their mission. The work-based experiences also go towards high school credits for graduation. The CCA and SCS mission call for reliable transportation in order to accomplish their missions. Other CCAs utilize the school bus system to address the need. Although this has been brought up in a past meeting, there has not been a solution addressed or further discussion on the topic in an open session of a regular or agenda setting BOE meeting.

Upcoming meetings and holiday breaks were announced.  The next meeting of the BOE is January 9, 2023, at 6pm. Meetings of the BOE are open to the public and are held in person at 100 Learning Lane. The regular meeting can usually be found on the Sumter County Schools’ Facebook page. Minutes of the meetings can be found on the school’s website,