Superintendent Choates Lost The School’s Summer Program

February 2019

Losing the Grant Could Cost Taxpayers

Dr. Michael Busman
Americus Sumter County School
Board Chairman

Dr. Torrance Choates
Americus Sumter County School

Staff Reports

Administration negligence caused the Americus and Sumter County School District to lose its 21st Century Grant. They failed to submit on time all documents requesting funding for after school and summer programs (ASTEP). Dr. Torrance Choates, the school superintendent, said the reason for losing the grant was that he changed personnel and the new person missed the deadline.

However, sources told the Americus Sumter Observer (ASO) that the new person responsible for the application was warned several times of the grant’s deadline. The grant request was due on or before January 31, 2019; there is not an appeal process. The summer program is so critical to our school system. The program has after school activities, summer enrichment, various activities, including field trips. However, parents, students, and the community, should not place all of the blame on the new hire. Choates and his senior staff must own up to their responsibility for the loss of this important grant for our children.

Sumter school board chairman, Dr. Michael Busman, has to share some of the responsibility too because he now will take funds from other useful programs for our children. When the district takes unplanned money from the school budget, it could lead to a need to increase the millage rate to cover the shortfall. Covering the shortfall means local tax payers will pay for this costly oversight made by Choates and Busman.

In 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a change to the current illegal school board districts. When Judge Louis Sands in Albany, GA approves the new districts map, the change will result in
seven legal school districts. The current majority White board hired Choates and recently extended his contract, allegedly for good work. The Observer has reported the number of excellent teachers removed by Choates for questionable reasons. And the predominantly White school board members, led by Busman, appear to show their interest only in the charter schools.

Superintendent Choates’ negligence has put the public schools’ summer program in grave jeopardy