Sumter Chamber Supports “Expanding Opportunities” Proposal to Consolidate Local Schools

Monday, March 26th, 2018

The Board of Directors of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce strongly support the Sumter School District “Expanding Opportunities” proposal for school consolidation. We believe that with the consolidation, along with the transition to K-8 magnet schools, the enhanced image of our school district will be a tremendous boost to our community. Parents, students and educators are drawn to magnet schools for a variety of different reasons. Magnet schools focus on specific areas of interest, such as performing arts, world languages, leadership and STEM based programs.
The continuous decline in enrollment of Rafting Creek Elementary, Mayewood Middle and F.J. Delaine Elementary are draining the resources of the school district while depriving the students of the education they so much deserve. The Chamber believes that in order to prepare our students to be competitive in the global economy, we must give them access to the highest quality education possible – one that will teach them how to be critical thinkers and problems solvers; one that will equip them with the skills they need to become part of our 21st century workforce and beyond. Implementation of this proposal will bring Sumter closer to achieving educational excellence community wide, a goal that has seemed out of reach by many stakeholders in this community.  
Magnet schools provide students with a hands on, centralized approach to learning in areas that capitalize on their strengths and interests. Magnet schools still teach the basic curriculum that regular school programs provide, but those basics are enhanced by the special teaching techniques and more personalized settings of a magnet school. Not only will our students benefit from this approach, it will also allow us to attract the best teachers and families to our community who wish to live, play and do business thus providing an even greater impact.
We understand that the incorporation of magnet schools into the district alone will not transform education in our community. We must provide the support as a community to the district, teachers, parents and the students so that they clearly understand we are behind them and so desperately want them to succeed. The mission of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce is to promote an ideal business environment which supports growth and total community development. We encourage the Board of Trustees of the Sumter School District to implement and execute this plan so that we may become the leader in South Carolina for economic and community development.