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Board set to adopt 'green cleaning' program
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The Newton County Board of Education is set to approve a contract with Associated Paper, Inc. of Conyers for custodial supplies as well as the implementation of a "green cleaning" program for the district's schools.

"We feel like this is something we do need to try," said Deborah Robertson, associate superintendent for business and administration.

She added the more eco-friendly and energy efficient program makes the school system, one of the largest consumers of Newton County utilities, more accountable for the resources it uses.

The annual contract value is approximately $400,000 and includes the cost of equipment repair and service as well as the purchase of new equipment.

Robertson said the price includes employee training and completing supply orders for each school.

"Also, if I call up and say I need more supplies not only will they give them to me," Robertson said, "but also they figure out why we ran out before the cleaning schedule would suggest."

Seven "green cleaning" program proposals were accepted by the board, and four were invited to make a presentation.

Although the Associated Paper proposal cost more than another proposed plan, Robertson said the contract was recommended for board approval because of the comprehensive nature of the services offered in it.

Because school system administrators usually budget $300,000 for custodial supplies and $100,000 for repairs and equipment purchases, the contract is in line with normal expenditures.

"We think this plan will eventually save money in the long run," Robertson said.

With approval from the board, the contract is expected to begin in March.

Meal Pay, an online program which allows parents to purchase school breakfast and lunch credits for their children, is currently unavailable because of a change in credit card processing companies. When a new agreement with the processing company is approved, the service will resume - possibly in a week.

Checks or cash may be sent to cafeterias (if student is in elementary school, write "meals" and the student's name and homeroom teacher on the envelope). Elementary school students will receive weekly low balance letters to take home. Middle and high school students will be verbally reminded when their account is under $2.00. For more information, call school nutrition program managers.

On Dec. 13 assistant principals, parents and central office staff met with athletic trainers from Georgia College and State University and Marietta High School to discuss the need for and feasibility of providing athletic trainer services to middle and high school students and staff.

The group concluded the system should advertise for an athletic trainer who is also a certified teacher or who is eligible for a provisional certificate.

Almost a year ago the board authorized the Newton County local legislative delegation to create legislation for submission of a local referendum regarding a county homestead exemption for qualifying seniors.

On Feb. 5, a referendum on the ballot will ask voters to approve or deny an exemption on $30,000 of the assessed value of homes of residents 65 and older whose annual adjusted income is less than $25,000.

Central office staff estimates the system could lose approximately $587,000 if the referendum passes.

Georgia's Performance-Based Writing Assessment for eighth grade students is scheduled for Jan. 16.