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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • 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.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.

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