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.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.
  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    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.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    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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