School Talk: Rumors aren't helping the situation 2012.10.03

Written by David Green.

We were glad to hear school board president Scott Merillat speak to the unusually large crowd at the Morenci Board Education meeting Monday. He touched on the fact that rumors are circulating about what the board and administrators are doing to the district.

It’s obvious what they’re doing—they’re trying to find ways to keep the district operating and move it out of a deficit situation. Michigan schools are not allowed to continual operating in the red. A deficit-reduction plan must be filed and the deficit must be removed if Morenci Area Schools are going to continue to exist. On top of that, a balanced budget must be in place to avoid further debt.

Board members have directed Superintendent of Schools Michael Osborne to find a way out of the financial mess created by increasing costs and falling revenue. This leads to perhaps the most troubling of all the rumors.

We’ve heard it said that Dr. Osborne’s goal is to pave the way for Morenci to close and merge with Hudson, where he also serves as superintendent.

Consolidation is certainly a prospect for Morenci if costs can’t be trimmed, but to see that as Dr. Osborne’s goal is ridiculous. When he says his goal is for Morenci schools to remain intact, we believe him.

School administrators often become very unpopular figures even in the best of times. In a challenging situation such as the one facing Morenci, the likelihood is much higher for a school leader to attract anger. We wish it weren’t that way, but that’s all right. It’s not part of Dr. Osborne’s job to be popular, and he said himself last month that he expects to fall further into disfavor when he does what needs to be done to save the district.

These are very difficult times for the school district. With the way many residents are turning against the top administrator, we seem to be going from bad to worse.

  • 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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