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News Education

State judge denies request of petitioners to scrap Macon County’s alternative calendar

Though some kids may be disappointed to hear it, public school in Macon County will start next week as planned. A state judge has denied the request for a preliminary injunction which would have scrapped plans to begin classes in the county on Aug. 4.

On Tuesday, State Administrative Law Judge Joe L. Webster denied the request of the petitioners to delay the start of school until Aug. 25, the statewide legal start date required of all schools in the state without a special waiver.

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At Monday’s school board meeting, Macon County Schools Finance Director, Angie Cook, reported on the $1.26 million the district will be required to return to the state out of its $24.77 million allocation.

According to Cook, the allocation already reflected budget cuts which affected programs such as driver’s education. To compensate for the 5 percent reversion, Macon County reconfigured the budget and “trade in” 19 teaching position salaries and one principal’s salary.

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Whether or not classes at Macon County schools will start as scheduled on Aug. 4 remains to be seen.

At a special called meeting on July 18, the Macon County Board of Education passed a resolution in support of the 2011-2012 school calendar and authorizing its attorney to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the calendar and this year’s school start date.

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The newest government target for budget cuts may soon be affecting local community colleges. Many Western North Carolina colleges are being considered for a possible merge including Southwestern Community College (SCC).

The N.C. General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division (PED) has released a report evaluating the cost of the N.C. Community College system. According to the report, if 22 community colleges with less than 3,000 full time students merged with a larger community college within a 30-mile radius, $5.1 million could be saved annually in administrative costs and around $3.5 million saved in other costs. Smaller community colleges have a higher administrative cost per student than larger schools so by merging nearby community colleges, the administrative cost would be reduced without having to close any campuses.

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