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Board of Education tables vote on student agendas

COVINGTON — The Newton County Board of Education is trying to save nearly $50,000, but board members will have to wait a little while longer to see if they will be able to do that.

During the school board's monthly work session in March, board members expressed interest in not accepting a bid for student agendas this year in an effort to save money on next school year's budget.

NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley originally had recommended for the board to approve the low bid of $46,738.58 from General Printing & Design Inc. in Southborough, Mass., to provide the design, printing and delivery of student agendas next school year.

Board member Johnny Smith asked during the work session if the board would consider not accepting this contract in order to offset the anticipated loss of funding that has been cut due to state revenue reductions and a decrease in local tax collections.

"It's a lot of money to waste," said school board Chair Cathy Dobbs during the work session.

But Whatley recently said the board members will have to wait at least another month or longer before they can vote on that issue.

During the school board's regular session meeting late last month, he asked the board to table the vote.

"We (need) a chance to talk with principals on what is the best way to deal with that," he said during the meeting.

Newton County schools have used student agendas since the early 1990s, first at the middle and high school levels and then at the elementary schools. They provide such information as school rules and the student code of conduct, but Whatley said schools could find another way to print or distribute those to families.

"It doesn't have to be put out as paper copies," he said during the work session. "We're going to need every penny we can save."

Whatley said some items may be put online for parents to view or be sent out as an automatic phone message. He said some paper copies could be provided in the schools for families who do not have Internet access.

"We have to rethink how we communicate with parents," he said. "We have to figure out how to save some money. ... We do face critical financial times in the months and years ahead."

The school board plans to meet again on April 13 and 27 for a work session and a regular session, respectively. They begin at 7 p.m. in the board room at the Newton County BOE meeting, which is located at 2109 Newton Drive N.E. in Covington.