Fayette schools: Thinking small, reducing staff 2012.05.23

Written by David Green.

The Fayette Board of Education decided Monday to make a significant change in the administration of the school district. When the next school year gets underway, the superintendent might be the same person as the elementary school principal.

This isn’t the first time Fayette has taken a sidestep from tradition. It started in 2007 when retired superintendent Russ Griggs was hired on a part-time basis. Each year since then he’s reduced the number of hours spent inside the school.

With Griggs’ contract set to expire a year from now—when the veteran administrator decides to retire one final time—and with the retirement of principal Luann Boyer this year, board members have an excellent opportunity to explore other possibilities.

Is this a bold move or simply a sign of the economic times? School critics will be quick to point out that there must have been too many administrators to begin with, and there may be some truth to that opinion. Morenci and Fayette have both shown that a full-time superintendent doesn’t appear to be necessary based on enrollment size and changing duties over the years. Morenci shares a school chief and Fayette employs theirs on a part-time basis. Due to finances, Morenci now splits a principal between the middle and high schools where before each building had its own.

We’re no judge of whether conditions have gotten better or worse with the changes made. School staff members are the ones who see how well it works every day. It seems likely that something is lost every time cuts are made, but with school finances the way they are, cuts must be made.

Several small districts employ a combined superintendent/principal and it will be interesting to hear from the candidates for the Fayette job to see what they think of the arrangement. If the board interviews a candidate they like, then Fayette, too, will make the change to a smaller administrative staff.

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    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
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    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
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    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
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