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Board chooses Flint Hill as new school name

Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith. Construction crews continue work on Newton County's newest elementary school being built on Airport Road near Ga. Highway 142. The Newton County Board of Education approved this week for the school to be named Flint Hill Elementary School.

Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith. Construction crews continue work on Newton County's newest elementary school being built on Airport Road near Ga. Highway 142. The Newton County Board of Education approved this week for the school to be named Flint Hill Elementary School.

COVINGTON -- Newton County's 14th elementary school finally has a name -- Flint Hill Elementary School.

After months of discussion among the community and the Newton County Board of Education, school board members approved the new name during its monthly meeting on Tuesday. It was a choice between Flint Hill Elementary School and Airport Elementary School, which board members suggested during its work session last week.

The school is located near Covington Municipal Airport and the section of the county was once known as the Flint Hill community.

All school board members except for Eddie Johnson approved the name Flint Hill; Johnson preferred the name Airport.

About 90 names were submitted to the Newton County School System earlier this month through a community survey that asked for suggestions over the past few weeks. The name submitted could not be the name of an individual.

Suggested names from community members included Airport, Alcovy, Cherokee, Covington, Flat Rock, Flint Hill, Hazelbrand, Merryvale, Mystic, Newton, Oxford and PRIDE elementary school, among others.

After hearing of the board's final two choices last week, Palmer Stone Elementary School students and staff members took a schoolwide survey to select a better name. Palmer Stone students will encompass most of the new school's student body, along with some students from other schools that will be rezoned next school year.

"The Palmer Stone PTO President and several PSES students came to me concerned about the possible name of our new school," said school Principal Lori Thomas in an e-mail to board members Monday. "They were disappointed with the two names."

Instead, they preferred the names Oxford, North Rock and North Newton as the top three choices; Flint Hill and Airport were their least favorite choices, she said.

Before Tuesday's vote, board member Jeff Meadors asked if the board would consider the school's request, but the motion failed.

"We've gone through this process in a timely manner," Johnson said. "We gave everybody an opportunity to participate."

Voting was open until the Friday before the board's work session.

The new elementary school is scheduled to open in time for the 2011-12 school year.

In December, the school board, which included three members who no longer are on the board, voted not to transfer the name Palmer Stone Elementary School to the new school, as previously discussed, and to let the new board decide on a name.

According to board policy, the board is responsible for naming new facilities of the district. Consideration for naming a school facility after an individual, living or deceased, may be given if land was donated by the individual or the individual's family and the land was accepted by the board for the purpose of constructing a school facility or if an individual or individual's family donates the money to purchase land or construct a school facility and the money was accepted by the board for that purpose.

Most recently, new Newton County schools have been named Live Oak, South Salem and Liberty.