Pepi Acebo, Kate Fisher and Libby Kyles

Council cuts school board field despite teacher, community concerns

Daniel Withrow, president of the Asheville City Association of Educators, says that his organization had been preparing to make its first-ever endorsements for Asheville City Board of Education seats this year but was caught off guard when Asheville City Council voted to trim the candidate pool ahead of its posted schedule.

Platinum Net Zero Energy home

Green in brief: Green Built Alliance launches new certificat­ions, Duke reaches coal ash agreement

“Many items that are now standard construction practices have been removed from our checklist, while we have added opportunities to gain points for new technologies,” explained Maggie Leslie, the nonprofit’s program director.

Cooper urges all K-12 schools to reopen for in-person learning

New policies from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction recommend all elementary schools open for in-person learning under Plan A, which does not require 6-foot social distancing between students and teachers. Middle and high schools are encouraged to reopen in-person under Plan B, which requires 6-foot social distancing at all times.

Asheville Primary School garden

Asheville City Schools on path to budget deficit

“You can’t keep doing that year in and year out. You need to keep an eye on that,” external auditor Michael Wike told the Asheville City Board of Education about the school system’s spending at a Dec. 7 work session. “What happens when you don’t have a fund balance is almost like an individual living paycheck to paycheck: You can’t plan for the future whatsoever.”

Council considers asking state for elected school board

If Asheville City Council wants to bring any legislation before the state General Assembly this year — including the creation of an elected board for Asheville City Schools or changes to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s room tax allocation — its members need to make those decisions in the coming weeks. 

Earl Hunter Jr. of Black Folks Camp Too

Green in brief: Black Folks Camp Too gains national partners, Hendersonv­ille kicks off bee mural project

Black Folks Camp Too founder Earl B. Hunter Jr. said new marketing collaborations would help him develop more interest in camping among the Black community. And later this month, Asheville-based artist Matthew Willey will begin work on a giant mural of honey bees at Hendersonville’s Hands On! Children’s Museum.

In PODS, students of color are finding academic success

Now in its fifth week, the PODS program aims to address the opportunity gap between Black and white students in the Asheville City Schools. Students meet in small groups to receive support with online learning; PODS staff act as a liaison between ACS teachers and students to engage and offer additional enrichment for kids who are struggling academically.