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News Education

Funding cuts weighing down budget process; School Board develops a ‘just in case’ budget

Since the recession, the budget planning process has been a daunting task for school officials in Macon County. With fewer and fewer dollars to work with each year, while student enrollment numbers continue to grow, the school board has pinched just about every last penny that they possibly can. Facing a $621,342 budget shortfall and having to ask the county for yet another increase, the school district can identify four significant budget items that are contributing to the issue this fiscal year. This year's request totals $7.9 million.

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Karena Mason of Franklin won the grand prize of a fullyear scholarship at Southwestern Community College’s 50th anniversary open house celebration and scholarship scavenger hunt Friday, April 10, at SCC’s Jackson Campus.

Among the roughly 500 people who attended the event, 96 participated in the scavenger hunt. Each participant had to visit three separate program presentations, each at a different building. Upon successfully completing the hunt, participants’ names were placed in a drawing that evening in the Burrell Conference Center.

Karena Mason’s parents – LaRessie and Mark Mason – graduated from SCC in the mid-1990s.

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For most people, the wetland along the North Carolina/Georgia state line on Highway 441 is not noticeable. There is nothing eye-catching about the area – no billboard touting its wonderful views, no Facebook posts exclaiming its ideal location to visit.

Still, the wetland is as important to the area as the rushing rivers and mountain views, which is why the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT) recently purchased a conservation easement on the 11.7 acres from Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, owners of the unique property. LTLT received funding through the Georgia Land Conservation Center to purchase the conservation easement.

 

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When faced with a growing deficit year after year, Macon County school officials are pleading with the state to reconsider legislation that would further reduce local budgets.

House Bill 535, "Promoting Charter School Success Pilot," is an act that would appropriate funds for a charter school development program through Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC). The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Rob Bryan R-Mecklenburg, Rep. Cecil Brockman D-Guilford, Rep. Brian Brown R-Pitt, was filed on April 1 and was referred to committee on rules, calendar, and Operations of the House on April 6, where it remains.

In a letter signed by the entire Macon County Board of Education sent to both Representative Roger West and Senator Jim Davis, leaders expressed their concern with the lack of accountability associated with the legislation as well as its implications on the local district.

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