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.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016