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.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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