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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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