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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.


The trouble with traditional martial arts is that they are all too often impractical in a real life physical altercation, according to long time Kung Fu instructor Armando Sainz.

“Although they are great for discipline, and a good foundation for self-defense, most martial arts systems are for sport and are not always effective,” said Sainz. “I have developed a fighting system for any situation—for the streets.”

But Sainz’ fighting system is not simply an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) amalgamation of styles and techniques, nor is it simple blocks or strikes.


Davis promotes public-private partnerships to keep remaining programs afloat

As the smoke has begun to clear from the state budget battle, educators around North Carolina are just now coming to grips with the full impact of the first Republican-controlled General Assembly in over one hundred years. The freshman legislators had promised to cut spending across the board to fill the state's projected shortfall of $2.5 billion – and they did.

Among the many casualties, education, which makes up nearly 60 percent of the state's budget, sustained some of the most painful cuts. In the end, K-12 education in the state saw close to 5.8 percent in total cuts, much of them in the form of massive reversions that will leave the burden of cutting jobs and programs to the local school systems.


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