School systems still hiring

With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, school systems across North Carolina are struggling to fill a wide range of positions. Schools in the western part of the state are no different, and every school system in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area has several positions still open. 

Support personnel get pay raises in Macon schools

Substitute teachers in Macon County can expect a raise in the coming school year after a vote by the Macon County Board of Education. The board will discuss a plan for bus driver pay next month.

Three education facts you should know

I have strong opinions about education policy in North Carolina and beyond. Maybe you’ve noticed!

Time for a little less gun loving

“Hollywood and video games glorify violence while those with mental illnesses remain untreated.“ 

Those are the words of Chuck Edwards, who most likely is the man who will be the new congressman for the 11th District after the election in November. He mouthed those words recently in response to the question of what needs to be done to prevent school shootings like the recent one in Uvalde, Texas. 

‘Lunchflation’ plagues WNC schools

After three abnormal school years due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that included free breakfast and lunch for all public-school students, schools across North Carolina are returning to the paid model of nutrition services. Now, a confluence of factors has necessitated a sharp increase in school meal costs.

Mold halts 
construction 
at Cherokee schools

Cherokee Central School was in the home stretch of a $22 million construction and renovation project on the 13-year-old campus when contractors found an unwelcome surprise — dampness on the walls of the old central office building, and inside them, mold.

HCS budgets for declining student population

During the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina schools did not incur budget cuts due to lower student populations across the board. Now, as the pandemic takes a backseat in the daily lives of many, schools are being held to accountable for their actual per diem numbers. For Haywood County Schools, this means there is less money available.

Jackson County Snack Master Competition

Last week, Jackson County Schools held its 10th annual Snack Master Competition, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Students created original recipes for healthy snacks and put their snack-making chops to the test in a competition with their peers. 

Plugged in: Cherokee receives state’s first electric school bus

With just about 2 inches to spare on each side, an 81-seat electric school bus eased into The Cherokee Convention Center exhibit hall last week for a celebration commemorating a milestone for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and both North Carolina. Cherokee is home to the first — and, for now, only — electric school bus in the state.

Needs-based capital fund grants expanded for schools

The Needs-Based Public Schools Capital Fund Grant Program was established as part of the education lottery in the 2017-18 state budget to provide more money in lottery funds for school construction in high-need counties. This year, the criteria to be eligible for these grants has expanded widely to include almost all counties in the state due to a surplus of funds. 

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