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Way to go, graduates!

Friends and family of the fall 2014 graduating class of Union Academy gathered last Friday to watch their graduates walk across the stage.

“I am proud of these students for having completed their requirements for graduation,” said Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for students, their teachers and also their families. I am excited about what the future holds for these students.”

With a message from guest speaker Terry Bell, long time educator in Macon County, he admonished students to never stop learning.


Requests considered on basis of safety and dire need.

Each year the Macon County School System asks that principals at all county schools develop a capital outlay request for each school. The school board prioritizes projects based on funds available from county commissioners for capital outlay improvements to the school system. This year, the school board prioritized projects based on safety and dire need. Those requests are then present to Macon County Commissioners, who vote to allot funds for the completion of the identified projects.

Requests are listed by school for the 2015-16 school year. Projects identified by the school system as being a priority for this year are underlined. The priority projects total $413,100.


State to choose a plan to implement in pilot program.

In most professions, with experience, comes reward. The longer you are employed somewhere, the more money you make. For generations, that has also been the case in the North Carolina education system. Teachers who have taught longer, are paid more. In 2015, that will no longer be the case. Due to legislation passed over the summer, the state's education system will be moving to a pay-for-performance salary scale. While new teachers will all start with the same base salary, in order to get a raise, teachers will have to be classified as highly effective.

Passed in July, the N.C. General Assembly’s budget for the 2014-15 school year included a section stating that it intended to fund differentiated pay for highly effective teachers.

This section of law also instructed that all local boards of education should submit proposals to establish local programs for differentiated teacher pay by Jan. 15. While boards could opt out of submitting a pay plan, both Macon and Jackson County worked to develop a proposal.


The next phase of a project on the Western Carolina University campus to build a new mixed-used facility on the site of a structure damaged by fire in November 2013 is expected to get under way this spring, university officials said.

The current timetable for the project, which will result in a 120,000-square-foot building featuring a mix of residential units and commercial and dining establishments on the ground floor with student residential spaces on the upper floors, calls for construction to begin in May. The facility is expected to include a total of about 380 student beds.


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