By Dawn Gilchrist-Young
Of the 120 or so 12th-graders I teach each year, about two-thirds have jobs outside of school. Of those two-thirds, there is a large number who work 30 to 40 hours a week. Their jobs range from bagging groceries and stocking shelves, to cleaning motel rooms, to chopping, splitting, and delivering firewood. As I included in my first column about the teaching I do at Swain County High School, the per capita income in 2011 was $19,506. For 2012, the projected income was $19,089. Of the county’s 14,000 residents, 3,000 live below the poverty level, and of those, almost 1,000 are children, including my students. For most readers, these are merely numbers, but for me, as a teacher, they are numbers that have faces.
To deal with a gaping budget shortfall, Macon County Schools might raid the local salary bonus it historically awards its teachers.
Western Carolina University will erase 10 degree programs, including women’s studies and the graduate music courses, from its books during the next few years.
Illegal drug abuse and its repercussions are costing Haywood County taxpayers.
An increase in drug use has led to more drug-related arrests. That means more inmates in the county jail, which it turn takes more jailers.
By Doug Woodward • Guest Columnist
What entity in our community serves the needs of every one of our citizens, whether that person is 3 years old or has been around for 90 years? And what place is this which can offer the same level of service to the wealthy and disadvantaged alike? Some organizations or businesses can offer services to a small segment of our population, but only one — our Fontana Regional Library System — can claim to open its doors to everyone.
Many who aren’t familiar with our library may say, “Oh yeah, they lend out books and old movies.” That limited viewpoint usually means that the speaker hasn’t set foot in the library in recent years, and sometimes we even find a commissioner or state representative who falls into that category.
Jackson County commissioners were implored by library advocates this week to give the Sylva and Cashiers libraries a sizeable bump in their budget.
The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Jackson County had its funding slashed in half in 2011, and this year, Raleigh may finish the job.
Haywood County’s budget will increase by more than $2 million next fiscal year, but it will still be nearly that amount shy of the county’s pre-recession budget.
Macon County Schools may be in store for some noticeable changes come the start of school this fall.
Despite cutting more than $50,000 from the town’s budget, Bryson City’s leaders plan to raise property taxes and town fees in the coming fiscal year.