COVINGTON --Two active education volunteers will serve as citizen co-chairs for the upcoming education SPLOST IV referendum.
The Newton County School System announced this week that Bea Jackson, director of the Washington Street Community Center, and Danny Stone, manager of Economic Development for Snapping Shoals, are the co-chairs.
NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews said that members of the Newton County Board of Education were asked to make suggestions by former Board Chair Eddie Johnson, and he, in turn, informed Mathews of the two individuals.
"Both are outstanding contributors to our community and supporters of public education," Mathews said. "We're most fortunate that they have agreed to take on this most important task."
The two planned to meet this week to develop a plan, Stone said.
"Timing is going to be critical because it's less than two months until the election," he said.
Last year, the Newton County Board of Education approved a call for an education SPLOST referendum to extend the existing 1 percent tax for education for a five-year period from 2015 to 2019.
It would be the fourth round of an education SPLOST for the county that started in May 2007.
The tax would be used for capital projects, including a new high school, and to pay the principal and interest on bonds issued for education for the five years that the SPLOST is collected. Other projects could include maintenance and technology needs, and, if necessary, additions to existing school buildings.
Jackson said that she and Stone already have met with Mathews to discuss the SPLOST, and their roles will be to educate people about the system's needs and citizens' concerns regarding the election.
"And to help get out the vote," said Jackson, who has worked on a SPLOST committee for the Newton County Board of Commissioners in the past.
In September 2007, only 6.5 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the special SPLOST election in Newton County, and 86 percent of those voters approved the continued tax. In 2003, about 10 percent of voters cast ballots in a special SPLOST election.
Jackson said that she and Stone will set up a committee to help assist them.
"We are looking for all good people who are interested in helping," she said.
Interested citizens should contact Jackson at 770-786-4002 or Stone at 770-385-2841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The group plans to set up meetings with school PTOs, local churches and civic organizations and other groups to present to them information about the referendum. Any group interested in having the committee visit for a meeting also is encouraged to contact Jackson or Stone.
"We're excited," Jackson said. "We've got about a month of hard work ahead. This is a referendum worth getting behind for our kids."
It is estimated that the special SPLOST election will cost about $38,000.
Editor Alice Queen contributed to this article.