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Posted: January 23, 2014 9:59 p.m.

BOE chooses new leaders


The Newton County Board of Education has elected a new chairwoman and vice-chairwoman, approved an online payment system to be used for school activities, and decided that students won’t need to make up the day of school they missed this month due to frigid weather.

At the board’s first regular monthly meeting of 2014 Tuesday, members unanimously voted to name Shakila Henderson-Baker as their new chairwoman for 2014. In addition, they appointed previously serving chairwoman Abigail Coggin as vice-chairwoman. The positions rotate annually, with appointments in January.

 New online payment system

Payments for a number of school-related activities will soon be accepted online.

The Board approved use of the Horizon Software International "MyPaymentsPlus" system for a number of activities in the school district. The system is already used for student food services, such as school breakfast and lunch payments.

Peggy Bullard, business manager for Newton County Schools, previously noted that the overall goal is for MyPaymentPlus to be used to its fullest capacity, with school personnel dealing with few or no cash transactions.

According to school system officials, the MyPaymentsPlus system keeps a record of all transactions, so parents and authorized school personnel can see online what has been paid.

Make-up day not required

The BOE decided that students don’t have to make up the day of school they missed Jan. 7, though teachers will. All employees — with the exception of 12-month employees — will be required to make up the time by working longer school days.

New materials for Live Oak

Live Oak Elementary School will soon have additional materials designed to improve student reading skills.

The Board approved the purchase of Science Research Associates reading materials from the McGraw-Hill Educational Co. for $59,913. The funds will come from the Title I School Improvements Budget, which is funding for "focus schools" such as Live Oak.

School system officials said the program is designed to help students decode and comprehend the meaning of words. The program has strategy-based instruction that addresses "five essentials,’’ including reading, phonics and word analysis, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

According to a letter from Live Oak Principal Ericka Anderson, the program is designed to provide students with a research-based direct instruction reading program. The goal is to decrease the percentage of underperforming students and increase the percentage of students who are able to reason and comprehend at grade level and above.

BOE calendar of meeting dates approved

The Board approved its calendar of meeting dates from January 2014 to January 2015.

Work sessions are scheduled at 7 p.m. Feb. 11, March 11, April 15, May 13, Aug. 12, Sept. 9, Nov. 11 and Jan. 13, 2015. Regular monthly meetings are scheduled at 7 p.m. Feb. 18, March 18, April 22, May 20, Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Nov. 18, and Jan. 20, 2015. Four combined work sessions will be held at 7 p.m. June 10, July 22, Oct. 14 and Dec. 16.

School system officials said some changes to traditional meeting dates were made to accommodate certain events during the school year, such as holiday breaks.

BOE adopts tentative FY2015 budget calendar

The Board adopted a tentative budget calendar for fiscal year 2015.

According to school system officials, the budget calendar is set to coincide with the adoption of the final budget prior to adjournment of the final BOE meeting in June.

Once school officials finalize enrollment projections, schools will receive allotments that will have projected student enrollments and staffing for the 2014-15 year. The calendar provides time for principals to discuss budgets and receive input from their staffs prior to submitting their guaranteed budgets.

Time is set aside for the BOE to hold budget work sessions and public hearings as needed or required.


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