Sumter, SC (WLTX) - The Sumter School District board meeting got pretty chaotic on Monday night.
The district is more than $6 million in the hole and made major budget cuts to make up for the deficit.
In recent meetings, residents have been speaking out about the loss in positions and the impact the budget cuts have had on students.
However, now the character of the board has become a topic of concern, with citizens questioning whether there should be new leadership and a new superintendent.
Members of Sumter’s clergy have accused board members of receiving favors from Superintendent Dr. Frank Baker.
In Monday night’s meeting tempers flared and trustee Karen Michalik said she’s had enough.
“God, don't like ugly,” says Michalik. “So I will do my best not to offend him with my testimony."
"With the single exception of a few barnyard chickens gifted me when I lost my flock to a bobcat, I have never, let me repeat, never asked for nor have I ever received any favors from Dr. Baker, superintendent of the Sumter School district."
She said she offered to pay for the chickens. However, it was what she said afterwards that caused residents in the audience to speak out.
"This is the people's seat, it will not be bullied or threatened by a vocal minority group hell bent on destruction,” says Michalik.
Many people began yelling back at Michalik for her comments. The meeting was quickly sent to an executive session. Many people went home before the board returned.
In speaking with local pastors who have been very vocal at these meetings, they say that they are most concerned about the children being affected by the district's decisions.
The district is expected to once again discuss the budget and how they plan to get back on track at their next meeting on March 13th. A public comment period is expected at their next meeting.
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