Karen Williams only had a handful of students in her beginner class when she first took the band director position for Swain County Schools 14 years ago, but today she has an average of 50 beginner students a year and the program continues to grow.
While many local school districts are struggling to make ends meet these days, Swain County Schools is facing a much steeper battle to qualify for state and federal funds the district feels its students deserve.
“We’re struggling as most boards are trying to look at our financial situation and fund things we crucially need,” said Superintendent Sam Pattillo.
Local school districts will have one more year before they have to abide by much stricter classroom size requirements thanks to a legislative compromise, but even the compromised deal for the 2017-18 school year will force some schools to hire more teachers immediately.
From softball fields to health buildings to animal shelters, funding requests have been arriving hot and heavy to the Jackson County Commissioners’ desks as budget season heats up. As the deadline for the 2017-18 budget draws nearer, the pressure to make tough decisions about what gets funded and what doesn’t is increasing.
With an eye to improving student performance and employee retention, Jackson County Public Schools has upped its budget ask to the Jackson County Commissioners — by 25 percent over the allocation given the past seven years.
Jackson County Schools has found itself at the back of the line to get a piece of the quarter-cent sales tax voters passed last year.
A fleet of new mountain bikes has come home to roost at Swain County High School, thanks to a donation from Bryson City Bicycles.
In December 2016, the bike shop landed an award from Synchrony Financial that granted it $10,000 to grow the business and another $10,000 earmarked for a community project of its choosing. Bryson City Bicycles was one of only five small businesses nationwide to land one of the Working Forward Small Business Awards, and co-owner Diane Cutler had no doubts about where in the community she wanted to invest that $10,000.
Parking may get easier and safer for Junaluska Elementary School parents if a bill introduced by Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, makes it through committee.
School systems in Western North Carolina were hoping a proposed piece of legislation regarding class size requirements would make it through the General Assembly this session to take some pressure off their 2017-18 budgets, but now it seems unlikely the bill will pass.
Much can be learned through the process of training for a 5K race — physical strength, mental health, focus, determination, self-confidence and perseverance.