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.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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    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.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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