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Higher fuel costs could affect school field trips
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Fuel prices continue to rise, causing county fuel costs to soar. According to the administrative services report, Newton County spent $194,462 in April on fuel for the systems buses. Buses traveled a combined 564,642 miles in the month while averaging 10.3 miles per gallon.

According to Associate Superintendent for Administration Deborah Robertson, the county has asked schools to cutback on field trips in an attempt to save fuel costs. To date, county schools have taken 3,477 field and athletic trips with 373 coming last month.

As a result, the county plans to increase the fuel and maintenance cost from $1.25 to $2 beginning in the 2008-2009 school year.

Robertson said fuel costs have risen 165 percent this year and the $.75 jump is in line with the additional costs. In April alone, fuel costs have risen 19 cents per gallon over the average price paid in March. The last price paid for fuel came in at $3.62.

Pre-K Lottery set

The county has allocated 520 Pre-K slots in the elementary schools and currently has 247 students on the waiting lists.

Each school is allocated 40 slots and the addition of South Salem gives the county 520 available spots versus 480 last year.

But with 767 children registered, the overflow means the remaining children will have to wait until a slot opens up.

Superintendent Steve Whatley pointed out the state does not allocate funds for Pre-K and wants parents to understand the county does what they can to accommodate as many students as possible.

The lottery system insures all students get an equal opportunity to attend Pre-K, even if there are more registered students than slots available.

School/Waiting List

East Newton - 2

Fairview - 27

Ficquett - 45

Heard - Mixon - 0

Livingston - 8

Mansfield - 11

Middle Ridge - 29

Oak Hill - 14

Palmer Stone - 27

Porterdale - 4

Rocky Plains - 40

South Salem - 25

West Newton - 15

Alcovy set to get new track

Alcovy High School will get a new synthetic track surface this summer. Sports Turf, a firm from Whitesburg, Ga., will install a one-half inch latex rubberized resilient surface over the existing hard-surfaced track.

Along with the new track surface, the county plans to add an eight foot-wide concrete sidewalk along the west side of the track, encompassing the catch basins.

Alcovy has had frequent problems with water accumulation, causing excessive mud accumulation near the grandstands and around the track.

Due to financial strains, the county chose to wait on the installation of the rubber track during construction two years ago.

The substantial completion date for the improvements is projected for July 15 at a cost of $102,500.

Alcovy construction to begin

Along with the new track and concrete sidewalk, Alcovy will also see work begin on the future construction of 50 new classrooms.

The first phase is set to begin after graduation and will consist of realigning the service drive and relocating the domestic water lines.

The initial construction is to prepare the site for the 50-classroom addition.

Alcovy opened in 2006 with future plans of adding the additional classrooms.

The county said work on the addition will have to occur while school is in session and estimates the classrooms will be ready for occupancy no later than the 2010-2011 school year and will cost $449,000.

Musical trailers

Several county schools will transfer trailers to other locations throughout the district in an effort to curb spending.

The relocation plan calls for six trailers to move from Livingston Elementary to Alcovy and seven trailers from West Newton to be distributed one each to Rocky Plains Elementary, Veterans Middle and Indian Creek Middle, with the remaining three going to Cousins Middle School.