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School board approves supplier for next year's agenda

COVINGTON - At its Tuesday work session last week, the Newton County Board of Education approved a bid from a Florida-based company to print the Newton County School System's 2008-09 school year student agendas in hopes of getting them before the school year begins, unlike last year.

Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley recommended that the low bidder, Pride Enterprises, of Blountstown, Fl., design, print and deliver student agendas for the 2008-09 school year.

The bid was for $60,446.70.

"This bid was evaluated based on cost, quality of product, checks of past history of businesses and adherence to specifications," according to Whatley's recommendation. "After review, it was determined the bid submitted by Pride Enterprise offered the lowest cost to the school system."

Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for instruction at NCSS, said she needed board approval at the work session, rather than waiting until the board's regular meeting next week, because of the company's timeline.

"I have a limited number of days to get the information to the company and get it back in the form of an agenda," Hayden said. "I need at least 60 days in order to make the timeline and get them back in time for the start of school."

She also was wary after last year's student agendas weren't delivered to students until almost two weeks after the start of the school year.

Whatley said that last year, the company that was supposed to supply the school system's agendas was bought out by another company that did not get the school system its agendas on time.

In late July, the school system was notified of the buy-out of its school agenda publishing company, Walsworth, by School Datebooks.

School Datebooks said it received an incomplete file on the school system, among other school systems, from Walsworth, further delaying the printing process.

"We were having to fight to get student agendas," Whatley said about last year's situation.

In July, once the school system was notified it would not receive its agendas until Aug. 6, after school started July 27, then-board Chairman Johnny Smith recommended next year the school system not work with School Datebooks.

"They did not work with us with our deadline," he said in July.

During this year's bidding session, School Datebooks, Inc. submitted a bid to the school system for $82,659, the second-highest of the five bids it received.

Hayden said the school system has never used the approved Pride Enterprises before for student agenda services but has used it for custodial supplies.

"Their record is good; they supply to a large part of Florida," she said.

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