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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • 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.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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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