Tonight kicks off the Sumter School Board Candidate Forums hosted by the Sumter Branch of the NAACP and four other groups, though that may be short for some.
Bonnie Disney, a candidate for the Area 9 District Board of Directors, said she was first told about tonight’s forum on Sunday through a phone call from an organizer. The event has only two participants, Disney and Reginald “Reggie” Evans.
The local NAACP group, along with the League of Women Voters of Sumter County, the Sumter Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and two other agencies will hold nine forums between tonight and Nov. 2 for the school board’s nine seats. which are up for the November 8 election.
The District 9 Forum will be held at the North HOPE Center, 904 N. Main St., Sumter, and will begin at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
The Item is regularly informed by the NAACP of its organizational meetings and publishes these in the Around Town section on the Daily Planner page, but the newspaper heard for the first time about the forum series, which is open to the public on Tuesday from Evans.
When The Item called event organizer Carlton Washington, who is also a member of Sumter County Council, on Wednesday about the series, he provided an email dated Friday, September 23, which was sent to the 25 candidates for the school board.
Disney said the email must have gone to her junk mail and she either never opened it or was unaware of it. Washington provided The Item with a screenshot of the “receipt read request” follow-up he marked, but he did not provide confirmation that Disney opened the email.
Evans said he was made aware of tonight’s District 9 Candidates Forum with the Sept. 23 email.
A complete list of the forum program is as follows:
District 9 – October 6, North HOPE Center, 904 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150;
District 5 – October 17, Cherryvale Community Center, 4340 Confederate Road, Sumter, SC 29154;
District 4 – October 18, East Community Center, 3675 E. Brewington Road, Sumter, SC 29153;
District 7 – October 20, North HOPE Center, 904 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150;
District 8 – October 26, Ebenezer Community Center, 4580 Queen Chapel Road, Dalzell, SC 29040;
District 6 – October 27, South HOPE Center, 1125 S. Lafayette Blvd., Sumter, SC 29150;
District 2 – November 1, Rafting Creek Community Center, 4050 Highway 261 N., Rembert, SC 29128;
District 3 – November 2, Bernie HOPE Center, 210 S. Purdy St., Sumter, SC 29150;
District 1 – November 3, Catchall-Shaw Community Center, 2680 Peach Orchard Road, Dalzell, SC 29040;
Doors open for each forum at 5:30 p.m. Forums begin at 6 p.m. each evening.