Parent to run for BOE seat

COVINGTON -- A Newton County parent and financial analyst hopes to provide his experience to the Newton County Board of Education.

Dale Thompson, 47, qualified last month to run on the Republican ticket of the District 1 seat on the school board. The seat is held by Johnny Smith, who is not seeking re-election.

For the past six years, he has been a financial analyst at Pratt Industries in Conyers while living in Covington. He's been in corporate finance management for the past 24 years, after completing a bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University.

Originally from Montgomery, Ala., and later living in LaGrange, he and his wife Sherri are raising two children in the Newton County School System -- Ross is a rising fourth-grader at East Newton Elementary and Hannah is a rising seventh-grader at Indian Creek Middle School.

"When I heard Johnny Smith was leaving, I thought there would be a void there with someone who has kids active in the schools," Thompson said. "I am concerned for my kids and the kids in Newton County."

He said he and his wife have been actively participating with the PTO and other volunteer opportunities in the schools, and he has attended several school board meetings over the years.

The biggest strength he would bring to the board would be his background in finance, he said.

"The school board is a policy-making board ... and the biggest policy is the budget that they pass every year," he said. "I have 24 years of budgeting experience, so I've become attuned and built a skill set."

If elected, he would like to figure out a way to get teachers back to their full compensation of retirement and health insurance benefits, and he also wants to improve communication between the school board and NCSS and members of the community.

This would be his first elected position. He also is treasurer of First Baptist Church of Covington.

In addition to the District 1 seat, Cathy Dobbs' District 3 and C.C. Bates' District 5 seats are up for re-election this year on the Newton County Board of Education; neither are seeking re-election.

Qualifying for the school board seats already has ended.