Morenci school election 5.14

Written by David Green.

Only about a tenth of Morenci school district voters went to the polls May 6, but their choice was obvious. The board’s bond proposal was overwhelmingly approved, 271-51.

Voters supported a request to leave the existing millage rate from the middle school construction project at its current level for five years rather than allowing it to begin a scheduled reduction.

The move will bring in a $1.4 million for maintenance needs at the elementary and high school, along with other facility needs such as rebuilding the deteriorating running track.

The owner of a $100,000 home would have saved an average of $40 a year had the proposal failed.

Morenci Superintendent of Schools Kyle Griffith was surprised by the margin of victory and very pleased with voters’ support.

“A lot of key people were behind the successful campaign,” he said. “The ‘Vote Yes’ committee put their names out there and did a lot of work. Adam [Johnson] and Joe [Farquhar] went out and talked to groups. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes work and I’m incredibly thankful for their efforts.”

The bottom line, he said, rests on the support of district residents.

“Traditionally, Morenci is very supportive of school issues. Once again, they supported us even in these economic times.”

Board of education members were cautious at first, Griffith said, wondering if this was a good time to seek approval of a bond measure, but they realized that costs will only increase if the maintenance work is delayed.

Griffith praised the board’s decision to refinance the middle school bond debt in 2005 after director of finances Erica Metcalf pointed out the financial advantages. That decision paved the way to the vote last week.

Griffith said there are three steps to take before work can begin—authorization to issue bonds, putting bonds out for sale and closing the sale—but he was told by the district’s construction management firm that projects should get underway this summer.

Griffith hopes that work such as floor tile replacement in the elementary school can be completed before classes begin in August.

Voters also approved the annual request for the 18-mill non-homestead operating millage, 281-36. Incumbent board members Carrie Dillon and Gary Ries were returned to office unopposed. Dillon received 271 votes and Ries was given 263.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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