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Schools in Macon County are on track to receive $660,000 for Internet connectivity upgrades this year through the federal government's E-Rate Program.

E-Rate (also known as the Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries) is intended to make it more affordable for schools and libraries across the country to connect to high-speed Internet – with the goal of making the gigabit speeds seen in cities like Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tenn., the norm in schools across the country.

Funds are available for 73 districts across North Carolina, with $660,000 available for Macon County. The use of the funds are specific and as Macon County Schools IT Director Tim Burrell noted during the Monday night Board of Education meeting in Highlands, are earmarked for upgrades to the district's wireless infrastructure.


Monday night, Macon County's Board of Education approved the 2015-16 school calendar, but not without first discussing how the district will approach snow days next year without help from the state.

Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin explained that despite 39 school calendar related bills being filed with the state legislature, it is unlikely that any legal change will be heard this year.

The Rules Committee Chair, Senator Tom Apodaca who represents Henderson County, supports the state's current calendar law and recently said that none of the existing calendar legislation would get consideration this year, Dr. Baldwin informed board members.


Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2 – Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Macon County Schools celebrated in a big way with activities planned every day of the week. Students dressed up as their favorite Dr. Seuss characters.

Students at East Franklin Elementary School were asked three questions:

  1. What was your favorite part about Read Across America Week?
  2. What is your favorite book and why?
  3. Why do you like to read?


For the last 50 years, Union Academy has virtually gone untouched in terms of repairs. The school, which went from an elementary school, to being vacant, to what is now the county's alternative school, has undoubtedly seen better days. That may soon change.

Tuesday night, Macon County Board of Commissioners (BOC) gave the go-ahead to apply for QZAB (Qualified Zone Academy Bonds) funds up to $3 million to renovate the facility.

The Union Academy renovation needs come with a $1.5 million price tag. The other portion of the QZAB funding would be used to improve the high school wing at Highlands School.


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