Girls at Junaluska Elementary School seem to have a renewed sense of pride in themselves and their peers after sharing a memorable experience during a recent Girls Empowerment Night.

After scrambling to cut $2.4 million from last year’s budget, the Haywood County School Board has weathered the storm and presented a proposed 2017-18 budget that is significantly sunnier than in years past, but still sees storm clouds looming on the horizon.

Since it is, after all, the Haywood County School Board, I can only hope they’ve learned a lesson.

Last week it was announced that a settlement has been agreed upon in the lawsuit filed by Waynesville attorney Mark Melrose against the school board for the way it closed Central Elementary School. The settlement mandated that neither party discuss the particulars, but here’s part of the 57-word statement that was released:

The school board “does not admit it violated the law or its own policies, but agrees it would have been preferable if circumstances had permitted to have provided more advanced public notice of its intention to vote on January 11, 2016, to study the possible closure of Central Elementary School.”

A 2012 change to a law that lays out requirements for yearly school calendars has the Haywood County School Board weighing the pros and cons of switching from a daily to hourly format. 

When Kevin Corbin decided to run for state representative, one of his main goals was to secure adequate funding allocations for K-12 schools.

Macon County elementary schools are near, at or over capacity, and administrators can only shuffle students around so much before a more long-term solution will be needed.

Plans are crystallizing for a new middle school in Jackson County, but it’s a race against the clock for Western Carolina University and Jackson County Public Schools to meet the deadline for opening set by the General Assembly. 

For months now, a committee created by the Haywood County Board of Education has been looking for ways to entice teachers to remain in the system, with little success.

The building that once housed Central Elementary School may soon find new life in the private sector, if and when Haywood County Commissioners take a pass on it.

“The smartest countries tend to be those that have acted to make teaching more prestigious and selective; directed more resources to their neediest children; enrolled most children in high-quality preschools; helped schools establish cultures of constant improvement; and applied rigorous, consistent standards across all classrooms.”  

— “What America Can Learn About Smart Schools in Other Countries,” The New York Times

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