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BOE looks for help naming new elementary school

COVINGTON - The Newton County Board of Education is asking the community to help name a new elementary school that will open on Kirkland Road.

Officials of the school board and the Newton County School System are encouraging students, employees and Newton County residents to be a part of history by helping them name the new school.

"Naming a school is a responsibility we take very seriously," Superintendent Steven Whatley said in a press release. "The name we select for the new school will be part of the permanent history of our school system and our county. As a result, the school board feels the community should have a role in selecting the name."

Board policy gives the school board the ultimate responsibility to name new facilities, but it allows for the board to seek input from the community.

This is a tactic the board has used in the past. The board accepted community suggestions for the naming of its most recently built schools, South Salem Elementary and Liberty Middle schools.

In the past, residents have suggested and schools have been named after geographical locations, landmarks, people and areas of the county. Board policy allows facilities to be named after individuals only if the school's land was donated by the individual or his family or if the family's money was used to purchase the land or build the school.

Students, employees and other residents of Newton County have until Dec. 3 to submit their suggested names to the school board. They must be in writing and include a rationale for the name.

Community members can submit suggestions by mailing them to Sherri Viniard, Director of Public Relations at the Newton County School System, P.O. Box 1469, Covington, GA 30015, or they can hand deliver them to the public relations department at the Newton County Board of Education building, located at 2109 Newton Drive N.E. in Covington.

This year, the school system also is encouraging those who wish to submit names to do so online, either by e-mailing Viniard at viniard.sherri@newton.k12.ga.us or through its Web site, www.newtoncountyschools.org. Those who go to the Web site will select the "Community Feedback" tab and then the "Help Us Name Our New Elementary School" link on that page, where they will fill out the name and provide a 500-character rationale for their choice.

The suggested names will be presented to the school board members during their Dec. 9 combined work session and monthly meeting.

At its Jan. 13 work session, the board will discuss the submitted names and narrow the list to no more than six; the board is expected to vote on the name of the new school at its Jan. 20 meeting. All board meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the board room at the Newton BOE building on Newton Drive.

The school, which will be the county's 14th elementary school, is expected to open over the summer in time for the 2009-10 school year.

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