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New schools named
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After deferring the naming of the county's new elementary and middle school at the January meeting until Tuesday night's work session, the Newton County Board of Education approved the names South Salem Elementary and Liberty Middle.

Board member Cathy Dobbs made a motion to name the system's 13th elementary school South Salem, which was seconded and then unanimously approved by the board.

"I think it's important for us to honor and recognize the community of Salem," Dobbs said, "which has been a part of this county for a long time and is different from the school in Rockdale County."

Rockdale County has a Salem High School.

Board Vice Chair Rickie Corley then made a motion to name Newton County's fifth middle school Liberty Middle.

"I think it's appropriate because we have a lot of freedom and choice in our schools," Corley said.

The name again was approved unanimously.

Board members were scheduled to name the schools at the Jan. 15 meeting but decided more discussion was needed since the names are a permanent fixture of the schools.

The board solicited community input for naming the schools in late 2007. Several letters the board received suggested Salem as a name.

Several suggestions included the names of individuals, but the board's naming facilities policy states an individual's name will be chosen only if the person or person's family donated land or money specifically for the construction of a school.

South Salem Elementary is scheduled to open in July and Liberty Middle, located adjacent to South Salem Elementary on Salem Road, is scheduled to open in July of 2009.