Polk School Board recognizes December MERIT award winner

Cherokee Elementary and Northside Elementary Technical Assistant Nikki Bray (second from right) was honored as the Polk School District’s December MERIT Award Winner at the Dec. 8 school board meeting. She is shown with board Chair J.P. Foster (from left), Superintendent Laurie Atkins, and Dr. Katie Thomas, CEO, Polk County College & Career Academy.

The first instances of speed cameras being placed in school zones in Polk County reached the next step in the process last week.

The Polk County Board of Education approved a request by the city of Cedartown to submit the proper paperwork to the Georgia Department of Transportation during the board’s December meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome had spoken to the board about the possibility of installing the devices along Rockmart Highway and U.S. 278 at the entrances to both Cedartown High School and Cedartown Middle School.

The Cedartown City Commission previously approved an ordinance and tentative contract with the company RedSpeed to install and maintain the cameras, but the school board has to vote to request the permits from the DOT per state law.

The option to place the cameras in school zones to catch speeding drivers is allowed by Georgia House Bill 978, which was passed into law during the 2018 legislative session.

Polk schools Superintendent Laurie Atkins recommended that the board approve the request. Board member Tommy Sanders made a motion to do so and board member Vicki Mayes seconded.

Board member Chris Culver, who had voiced concerns and opposition to the installation of speed cameras, was the lone vote against the request.

Cedartown is the second municipal agency to go to the school board and advocate for the placement of speed cameras in school zones.

The board had heard from Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd in September about the possibility of allowing for the same company to set up cameras at Youngs Grove Elementary and Van Wert Elementary — the only two schools located outside of any city limits in Polk County.

However, the Polk County Commission would have to approve an ordinance first before the school board could take any action on permits. While Dodd presented the idea to the county commissioners in July, no action has been taken.

In other news, Cherokee Elementary and Northside Elementary Technical Assistant Nikki Bray was named the PSD December MERIT Award Winner, which was presented to a member of the district’s technology department. Bray received a certificate and gift card.

MERIT, which stands for Magnificent Employees Recognized for their Inspiration & Talent, recognizes and rewards monthly employees that shine in their positions and buildings.

MERIT winners can be nominated by anyone in Polk County, from a school district employee to a parent or resident. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.polk.k12.ga.us.

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