Morenci schools: Moving forward into new year 2012.08.29

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s new school year begins Tuesday morning and teachers will start the year with a new contract. It’s a contract that takes away pay and makes further cuts to health insurance benefits. The contract could also be characterized as a sign of the times.

Following the “great recession” of 2008, nothing has been the same, and school districts—particularly those in Michigan—have been among those most affected by the economic downtown.

Morenci schools will move into a deficit position in the approaching school year. Our teachers worked without a contract during the last school year and they could have continued without a new contract—much to their advantage. 

It was a noble gesture on their part to make a nearly unanimous decision to go forward with a new, concessionary contract and give up pay for the good of the district. The two percent cut won’t come close to solving the district’s financial woes, but it makes a big dent in the problem.

State government has already taken away from teachers and other public employees through changes in health care and retirement. The “taking away” is not a long-term solution.

Eventually the state will have to come around and begin increasing funding for schools. On the one hand, the state raises standards and demands more; on the other hand, many legislators seem more interested in charter schools and don’t give public education the support it needs to do the best job.

We’re pleased that local teachers agreed to help out for now. Coming together at the start of the new year is the best way to begin. 

  • 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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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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