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.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.
    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.

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