Arts + Entertainment

op frFor school systems in relatively poor, rural areas where resources are scarce and student achievement is low, there’s no magic bullet that will suddenly transform the public education system. No, it’s mostly just roll-up-your-sleeves hard work by teachers and administrators to make sure the job gets done to the best of one’s ability.

However, getting all of a county’s leaders on the same page so they can at least be educated about the needs and challenges facing teachers and students is a good move, and that’s just what is happening right now in Swain County. If this initial overture turns into a real relationship — and a willingness by county leaders to understand its school system — it will only mean good things for Swain students.

fr robertwhiteSwain County Superintendent Sam Pattillo is taking a new approach this year. He’s requesting that county commissioners participate in the school district’s budgetary process. 

“I feel like we need to be more together in our planning process,” Pattillo told commissioners during a recent meeting during which a foundation was laid for future discussions. “The struggle and juggle is going to be between the facilities and our programs and the best way to educate our kids.”

It’s an unenviable task, but one Haywood County tourism leaders face every year: weighing dozens of festivals and niche marketing campaigns vying for a share of tourism promotion dollars.

Deciding which festivals hold the most promise for luring coveted tourists is a balancing act, and one that’s sure to produce its share of winners and losers.

Folkmoot USA International Dance Festival once again saw its grant funding cut by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority.

The  event that brings in international folk dance and music troupes from eight to 10 countries for a 10-day extravaganza has been a signature festival in Haywood County for 30 years. But some on the county tourism authority have grown weary of continued financial support for Folkmoot year after year.

Swain County commissioners last week tentatively agreed to increase the property tax rate by 3 cents to cover a budget deficit — the first property tax increase Swain has seen in more than two decades.

fr sylvabudgetSylva town leaders have chosen not to raise taxes next year and instead delay town expenditures, save money where they can and dip into reserve funds to shore up the budget.

Nearly two months after a majority of Macon County commissioners approved a slew of salary raises for all county employees, the nitty-gritty details of the pay hikes have been released.

Waynesville officials are looking under a different couch cushion for additional revenue after losing income from sweepstakes operations and its ABC store.

fr seasonalOut of all the problems each county faces, how do you one narrow them down to focus on just three?

fr firechiefsJackson County commissioners may be looking to change how fire departments are funded.

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