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BOE lowers bond millage rate to zero
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COVINGTON- The Newton County School Board (BOE) decided to maintain the current maintenance and operations (M&O) millage rate while lowering the bond millage rate to zero at its meeting Tuesday night.

With a 5-0 vote, the M&O millage rate will remain at 20 mills, which is the amount it’s been since being raised from 18.21 mills before the 2010-2011 fiscal year. By law, the school district’s mills cannot exceed 20 mills.

The bond millage rate, which was reduced to .45 mills last year, will be lowered to zero and the Newton County School System (NCSS) will use EPLOST IV funds to help pay the principal and interest on any bonds.

In other school business:

-The school system has to update some of its policies related to weapons, bullying, child abuse or neglect and medication.
According to the NCSS, the current language used in these policies are have been deemed outdated by the Georgia State Board of Education because they longer meet state law requirements. All the policies were last adopted by the board in January 2013.

For example, the bullying policy now includes the term cyberbullying, which is a form of bullying that occurs via electronic devices and has been a hot national topic in recent years. The policy would give the school system authority to act on the offense committed by the student whether the person was using school property or their own personal property.

A new policy may be added to the school system for suicide prevention. With this policy a person selected by the BOE will have to develop procedures to address suicide prevention efforts, intervention and postvention.

The procedures would be developed with help from community stakeholders, school employed mental health professionals and suicide prevention experts.

These policies are not final and will be further discussed in August before being voted on in September.