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.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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.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.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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