School board to present issues to state legislators

COVINGTON - The Newton County School System and Board of Education will present its list of legislative priorities to state legislators in December.

School officials have invited members of the Newton County legislative delegation to attend a combined work session and monthly board meeting scheduled on Dec. 9.

"Each year we invite the legislative delegation ... to present legislative priorities that affect the school district, finances and education," NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley said.

The board members drafted 10 statements that give their positions on certain issues that shape policies, procedures and funding of public schools that are determined through state actions.

"The position statements have been drafted as a means of communicating to our legislative delegation those issues of major importance for which the state, through the legislature, supports the achievement and success of public school students an the maintenance and operation of the school district," Whatley said in a memo to the board members.

Items include supporting an increase in the state maximum class size requirements; a fair and equitable tax reform and increase of funding for maintenance and operations; and not supporting the taking away of local funding power and vouchers to allocate public funds for private schools and home study, among other issues.

Whatley said these are critical issues especially this year because of the economic downturn and expected state budget cuts.

"We know (the legislators) will be saying there is no money, and we understand that ... but we must get our positions before them," he said.

The board encourages the public to attend the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 in the board room at the Newton County BOE building on 2109 Newton Drive in Covington.

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