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BOE to hold combined meeting

COVINGTON - The Newton County Board of Education will only meet once in December, instead of its usual two times.

The board will come together at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a combined meeting and work session at its location at 2109 Newton Drive in Covington.

Newton County School System Superintendent Steve Whatley will present to the board members for the first time the suggested names he received for the new elementary and middle schools being built on Salem Road.

The Newton County School System isn't releasing the names ahead of time because they want the members to see them first, said Sherri Viniard, director of public relations.

In November, the board requested the community's help in naming the schools, as it has done in the past.

"The names we select for the two new schools will be part of the permanent history of our school system and our county," Whatley said in November. "The school board feels the community should have a role in selecting those names."

The board will vote on the names at the January monthly meeting, Viniard said.

The elementary school is scheduled to open in August, and the middle school should open by August 2009.

The schools' construction company will also give an update on the projects at Tuesday's meeting.

Also Tuesday, board members will present their list of 10 legislative priorities to members of the local legislative delegation who the board invited to the meeting.

Items include supporting a state budget that funds the local school system, the selling of state bonds to provide more funding for school buses and legislation allowing school retirees to continue public school employment without penalty.

Board member Cathy Dobbs encouraged school councils, PTO, PTA and other educational stakeholders to attend the meeting "to show support of education.

"If people could come out to that meeting to show that they are interested in education (and) if we could fill this room up, it would be nice," she said at November's board meeting.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.