COVINGTON -- Just when the race for the three vacated seats on the Newton County Board of Education is getting started, it already has lost one candidate.
Travis Price, who qualified last week for the District 5 seat on the Republican ticket that is held by C.C. Bates, announced Tuesday that he is withdrawing from the race.
He said after he qualified he received medical results from a recent MRI that may result in surgery and physical therapy.
"It's non-life-threatening, but it will be time-consuming," he said Tuesday morning. "There is no way I can campaign and do all I need to do."
Although Price, a father of five, won't be in the race, he plans to pitch ideas to the school board and attend upcoming meetings.
"I am going to be involved," he said. "And I'm going to hold candidates running and those elected accountable."
He said he hopes the school board will allow parents to pay for middle school athletics to make up for the $100,000 it would otherwise save.
"If you divide all of the (middle school) athletes in the county ... about 1,000 ... it's not an unfeasible amount per child," said Price, who has children in basketball and track at Cousins Middle School. "Give the parents the option to save sports."
Although many parents are concerned about sports, he said the biggest concern for him is cuts to paraprofessionals and instructional jobs.
"I don't like to see the board cut instructional positions first," said Price, whose wife is a kindergarten teacher at Palmer Stone Elementary School.
He said he wants the board to look at outsourcing positions in lawn, maintenance and transportation to other companies within the county.
"It's unfortunate, but with $10 million, somebody is going to lose a job," said Price, a manager at a retail corporation. "There is money to be saved (in those departments) without going into instruction first."
He also is asking board members to consider setting up a school system auxiliary, like Newton Medical Center uses. He said volunteers, like retired educators, could serve as school receptionists and other positions at schools.
Although Price won't serve on the school board this time, he said not to rule him out in the future.
"I've always been interested in county government. I love this place, even when it drives me crazy," said Price, a lifelong Oxford resident. "I won't rule out anything in the future."
He also asks residents to follow him on Facebook at Newton Voice Travis Price.
Democrat Sharon Sawyer and Republicans Abigail Coggin and Timothy Walden remain in the race for the District 5 seat on the Newton County Board of Education. The District 1 and 3 seats also are up for election this year.