Fayette board of eduction 11.26.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

State funding for education has already taken a downward turn in Ohio, said Fayette school superintendent Russell Griggs, and it’s likely to get much worse.

Griggs girded board of education members at the Nov. 17 meeting with the news that tough financial conditions lay ahead.

State revenue has fallen $175 million below projections, he said, and indications point to worsening conditions.

“There’s talk in Columbus about cuts,” he said. “They’ve already made some cuts, but not directly related to the classroom.”

That would be the next step and he’s heard talk of a five percent reduction in state aid. For Fayette, that means a cut of at least $110,000—for the current year.

That would be exceptionally challenging, he said, because staff members have been hired and programs are in place.

“We’ll have to look at our operations and be proactive over the next few months,” Griggs said. “We’ll be taking a very serious look.”

The district’s projected deficit could increase to $400,000 for the current school year, taking a big bite out of the reserve cash.

As a veteran administrator, Griggs has seen similar situations in the past, notably the early 1980s.

Griggs said he wants district residents to be aware of the upcoming problems. He and other administrators need to begin looking for ways to trim spending.

DELAY—Demolition of the old school buildings was delayed after additional asbestos was found in both buildings. This will add two or three weeks to the completion of the project.

In addition, a buried fuel oil tank was found at the Franklin property and an additional water well needed capping on the high school property.

The delay works toward Armstrong Excavating’s goal of recycling as much material as possible, Griggs said. The company estimates that only about 10 percent of the demolition material will end up in a landfill.

TURBINE—Griggs continues to explore the purchase of a wind turbine to lower the school’s utility costs. Leftover funds from the building project could be used, along with a grant. He estimates the cost at between $800,000 and $900,000.

SNOW REMOVAL—Chris Johnson was awarded a three-year contract for snow removal. His low bid of $270 per cleaning was $30 below the next lowest bid from Doug Eisel.

Steve Snider, head of maintenance, said he was pleased working with Eisel over recent years. Eisel pointed out that he did minor clearing several times last season without any charge, so his bid might become closer to the low bid.

The board voted to accept the low bid from Johnson.

LIBRARY—Debra Rupp was appointed to a seven-year term on the Normal Memorial Library board of directors.

STAFF—Lisa Hintz was hired to serve as an intervention teacher for grades seven through 12.

She did an excellent job last year, Griggs said, and he believes her assistance made a positive difference on state testing scores.

  • 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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