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After 25 years of service, Southwestern Community College said goodbye to its Macon campus Vice President Dr. Connie Haire.

Dozens of students, educators and community leaders gathered in the conference room of the Cecil Groves center in Macon County on Monday to celebrate Haire’s contributions to SCC before she officially retires on July 1.

“Dr. Haire cares about the students. Heck, she knows me by name,” said nursing student Joe Longbons. “She pushes me to do my best and she is a wonderful woman because she is so supportive.”


On Monday, the Macon County school board approved the implementation of a new online Drivers Education program.

“Basically the state is not providing us enough funds to be able to have driver’s education as we have had it in the past,” said Dan Moore, Macon County School Director of Personnel. In light of the budgetary shortfall faced by all county and state departments this fiscal year, he proposed a new alternative to the one costly class.


The calendar for the coming school year was a major topic of discussion at this month’s Macon County Board of Education meeting, as the board was confronted with both the new state mandate for a longer 185-day school calendar and challenges to its already approved alternative calendar.

Sabrina Hawkins, a mother of three children at Highlands School, spoke to the board of her displeasure with the non-traditional school calendar for the 2011-2012 school year. In April, the county was granted a special waiver by the State Board of Education which allowed it to bypass the state-mandated start date of Aug. 25 and instead begin classes three weeks earlier, on Aug. 4.


A new bill passed through the North Carolina legislature increases the minimum number of required instructional days for students from 180 to 185, or from 1,000 hours to 1,025 hours. At the same time, no additional funds have been allocated by the state to pay for bussing or other expenses which will be incurred by the extra student days.

On Monday, after considering its options, the school board voted to apply for a waiver from the State Board of Education which would allow Macon County schools to remain on a 180-day calendar. The additional classroom days are to replace teacher workdays that were protected in years past, but which the new law unprotects.


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