0

BOE could delay naming new school
Policy change proposed

COVINGTON - Naming Newton County's newest elementary school may take a little longer than normal.

At Tuesday's work session, school board members were scheduled to select six possible names for the school currently being built at the intersection of Kirkland and Jack Neely roads in western Newton County in order for them to approve a final name during the regular session next week.

Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley presented the board members with a list of suggestions from the community members, including crossed-out ineligible titles that were against board policy. Those ineligible names included Carroll O'Connor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. They are against policy because they are not individuals whose families have donated money or the land for school use.

School board members could choose from the list or suggest their own name.

After three of the five school board members listed some of their suggestions - Johnny Smith suggested Woodridge, Ridge Crest, Pine Ridge and Pine Grove; Cathy Dobbs suggested Woodridge, Live Oak, Windy Hill and Crossroad; Almond Turner suggested Lakeview, Lakeside, Pine Creek, Pine Ridge, Dry Pond and Dried Pond - newcomer Eddie Johnson suggested the board revise its

policy.

He said it upset him to see Martin Luther King Jr.'s name crossed off the list and still have the choice of Kirkland Road and Jack Neely since they were named after individuals not meeting the board policy. It was pointed out that those names also are names of streets surrounding the school and no board members had suggested those names yet.

"We need a change, and I'm going to promote change," Johnson said.

The board members determined that they had changed the policy to what it is now about two years ago after much deliberation and discussion.

With many of the school names "we try to look at where it is in the county and the history," Dobbs said. "There are so many deserving people in this county."

Turner said when the board members revised the school naming policy, they did so because they didn't want to divide the community or cause any problems by naming schools after individuals who didn't meet such criteria.

After more discussion on the same topic, the board decided that they would review the policy during its regular session and have the members present their name choices to vote on at that time or perhaps later.

The regular session meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Newton County BOE offices, located at 2109 Newton Drive NE in Covington.

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