BOE: Students might not get school agendas

COVINGTON -- Schools may not provide Newton County students with agendas next school year in an effort to save money.

Some Newton County Board of Education members expressed interest in not accepting a bid for student agendas this year.

During the board's monthly work session Tuesday, Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley presented the board members with a recommendation 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 if the board would consider not accepting this contract in order to save on anticipated needed 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.

Whatley said 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 in them as school rules and the student code of conduct, but Whatley said schools could find another way to print or distribute that information to families.

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

Whatley said some items this year 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 will hold its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Newton County Board of Education building, which is located at 2109 Newton Drive NE in Covington.