Sumter School Board gives superintendent weeks to address issues | News
Sumter School Board members spent hours discussing problems within the district Monday night, but said the issues cannot be solved overnight.
According to a press release, the board believes Superintendent Randolph Bynum and his staff need to address issues at Sumter High School, the 'SWEET 16' program and related copyright issues, community relations, and numerous employee issues.
The board is asking Bynum to respond and take action by its next meeting on July 22nd.
"We will share the concerns developed in tonight’s discussion with the Superintendent and afford Mr. Bynum a
reasonable time to formulate a response to our concerns," wrote Keith Schultz, Chairman, Sumter School
District Board of Trustees in the release.
"At this time, the Board will by necessity reserve judgment on the quality and promise of his response," continued Schultz. "We will make further public statements on these issues as it is appropriate to do so."
Schultz pointed out that the district's consolidation has presented challenges. "All Board members know the Board and the District have much room for improvement in our operations and performance," wrote Schultz. "We are committed to making these improvements as rapidly as practicable."
The ultimatum comes in the wake of a criminal investigation underway over exit testing at Sumter High School. In April, the South Carolina Department of Education called for the investigation after reports of unorganized testing.
Test monitors claim it took too long to get students started, lunch was rushed and teachers were never trained on proper procedures.
Principal Sterling Harris and administrators have repeatedly denied those claims. Bynum said he would not comment on the exit testing problems until the SLED investigation is complete.
A memorandum from Harris blamed his teachers for not following protocol. In his response letter to the Department of Education's claims, he disputes some violations and suggests chaos may have been created by teachers and staff unhappy with changes at the district.
In June, students presented the board with a petition signed by 560 people which raised issues about how teachers were being treated and how the district was operating.
SLED is reviewing the state's request but has not said whether it will investigate. Board members have agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
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