The Newton County Board of Education entered into an agreement to partner with the Newton County Community Partnership with a purpose of improving the school success and qualified workforce of Newton County.
The board approved of the memorandum of understanding at their Tuesday night board meeting. The memorandum, which lasts for nine months, goes into effect Nov. 1.
In showing their first move of solidarity, Board Chairwoman Shakila Henderson-Baker, District 3, and NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey submitted a letter of support for a $25,000 grant applied for by the NCCP.
The grant funding, distributed from the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta and lasts for six months, will be utilized to establish a steering a committee that will work to create the strategic plan for the community. Phase I of the plan is to have school, county, city, juvenile court and chamber of commerce officials meet to “identify community collaboration and strategy that will decrease our achievement gap and increase our qualified workforce,” said NCCP Executive Director Laura Bertram.
Since beginning in 1989, the NCCP has sought to bring community leaders together for collaboration to solve community issues, she added.
“… Once again, we’re going to turn that planning to engage the leaders to develop a community vision that will gather this community around the overarching issue of poverty, which is what’s threatening us,” she told the board during the hour long meeting. “
She then quoted New York Times best-selling author Paul Tough, who wrote “How Children Succeed,” saying, “Increasing the school’s success in children in poverty is essential to our collective social and economic future.”
In other school business:
The school approved the purchases of two 54-passesger buses and one 72-passenger bus. The total value of the buses is $301,478.
The school system will only pay $69,818 towards the purchase thanks to a bond program, from the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission, that’ll reimburse local school systems for the purchases of new buses at a cost of $77,220 per bus.
The school board also approved laying down new gymnasium flooring in six elementary schools. The total sum of the project, including materials and installation, is $199,106.
During an evaluation of facilities, East Newton, Heard-Mixon, Livingston, Mansfield and Porterdale Elementary schools were identified as most needing a replacement floor. Newton County Theme School at Ficquett will also get new flooring.
The cost will be paid out of the school’s budgeted capital funds for fiscal year 2015.