Three interview for NMSD boardBy BRENT MAZE,
Newton’s Board of Aldermen is scheduled to appoint a new person to the Newton Municipal School Board on Tuesday, Feb. 20 after they heard from three people who expressed interest in the school board opening.
The vacancy was created after current board member Jimmie Evans’ term is set to expire this month, and he chose not to seek reappointment to his position.
Eva McDonald, Katrina Tingle and Arthur Nelson submitted their names for consideration for the position.
McDonald, who spoke first, is no stranger to Newton city government, as she served as an alderman up until last year. She is a graduate of the Newton Municipal School District and also runs Tinka Tonka Preschool in Newton.
“I’m concerned about the City of Newton’s school students,” McDonald said. “I’m mostly concerned about my young students because if they don’t get a good learning experience, they don’t have good teachers, if they’re not taught well here, it’s hard for them to advance in life. So I feel like I can help the school board in presenting ways that will help our superintendent in traveling to conferences and bringing back new information that will be vital to our school district as well as our board and our community.”
Tingle is a financial adviser at Anderson Regional Hospital in Meridian. She said that she is “engaged” in the schools by being a volunteer and is a member of the superintendent’s advisory cabinet.
“I actively attend all school board meetings,” Tingle said. “In the last year, I think I have maybe missed one meeting. Out of all of your candidates, I’m the only one that’s consistently there… “I think I have a good working relationship with the administrators, the current superintendent, and I ask for your consideration of someone who is going to be engaged in the school district.”
Nelson has applied for the school board on multiple occasions including last year when Alice Dawkins-Hopson was reappointed to the school board. He said he is concerned that too many people do not want to live in Newton and surrounding areas because of the schools.
“I want to be a board member to change that,” Nelson said. “I want to help improve our district to the point that people want to move to the city of Newton just because our schools are so good.”
Alderman Eric McCalphia said he was impressed by the pool of candidates, but he wanted to go ahead and choose the new board member last week.
“I think anyone of these persons are capable of doing the job,” McCalphia said. “I think some of us know who we are going to support, and if it’s OK with the board, I don’t think we should leave them in limbo waiting on us to debate the decision.”
Mayor Murray Weems said that voting on the board member wasn’t on the agenda for the Feb. 6 meeting. Aldermen Linda Wash and Bob Bridges also wished to take a little more time to talk with the candidates individually before they decide.
In other business, the board:
• Approved moving forward with applying for a grant to upgrade the water system on Roy Mann Road, Thomas Cutoff Road and Old Hickory Road and for a sewer upgrade behind Calvary Baptist Church. Lynetta Cooksey with the East Central Planning and Development District office said that they may have a good chance of securing a grant if there was a high percentage of low-income families living in that neighborhood.
• Moved forward applying for a pumper at a cost of more than $420,000 and applying for gear including turnout gear at a cost up to $147,620. The city’s match if awarded would be $20,000 for the pumper and $7,380 for the gear.
• Will donate $350 for Mayor’s Youth Council trip.
• Purchased a computer for city hall for $1,040.
• Approved change orders on the rail spur project at Biewer with a net increase of the overall project total by $43,500.
• Agreed to close to city hall for Presidents Day on Monday.
• Opened a new bank account at BankFirst.
• Set a date for the cleanup of the Enterprise cleanup property at the first meeting in March.
• Allowed parks and recreation director Jay Powell to attend the Dizzy Dean meeting in Feb. 17.
• Will purchase a Chevrolet Impala police car for $25,000 as a new police department patrol car.
• Hired Cindy Cook to fill a new position in the police department.
• Removed Jeffery T. Brown and John Williamson from the part-time firefighter list.
• Paid the claims docket.