Morenci school board 03.03.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Morenci Board of Education passed a resolution Monday night to engage in joint discussions with the Hudson school board to consider shared services.

The first cooperative service agreement will focus on sharing a superintendent.

After Morenci superintendent Kyle Griffith left the district last month to help organize and lead the new JCC/LISD High School Academy in Adrian, high school principal Nate Parker was named interim superintendent while an advisory board began looking at options for the future.

That search soon turned to neighboring Hudson, another district facing extreme financial difficulties due to falling enrollment and cuts in state aid.

Dr. Michael Osborne is serving his first year as Hudson’s superintendent after working as the district’s high school/middle school principal for several years.

Morenci board president Scott Merillat said he and his advisory committee members—Dwight Mansfield and Carrie Dillon—met last week with two Hudson board members and Dr. Osborne to discuss the possibility of shared administration.

“They’re in the same situation as us,” Merillat said, “stretching their limited resources. It was a really good discussion.”

Merillat said the cooperative arrangement would not only save money but also help improve the school’s quality of education. By pooling resources, services to students could be expanded.

The committee will meet twice March 15 with Hudson’s advisory committee—first in Hudson and then in Morenci—to report on efforts to decide whether the shared superintendent is a possibility and how the two districts would move forward with the arrangement.

Mansfield said the shared role would be reviewed after a year. He insisted that the board has to be creative and explore new ways to keep the school in operation.

Merillat characterized the move as proactive in an effort to prevent state education officials from stepping in and directing the school’s finances in the future.

The two districts combined would have an enrollment of about 1,700 students, he said, which is a manageable size for one top administrator.

“It’s a good place to start,” board member Ivy Hutchison said.

“And it’s a good opportunity for us since we don’t have a superintendent,” added treasurer Gary Ries.

Merillat noted that Sand Creek already has a combined superintendent/high school principal role and that doesn’t offer the same opportunity as Hudson’s situation.

“Hopefully by April we should have a good idea of where we’re at,” Merillat said.

COACHES—Don Williams was hired to serve as varsity baseball coach and Joseph Wohlgamuth was hired as golf coach.

STAFF—Brandon VanEtten was hired to fill a vacancy as a full-time independent paraprofessional.

FURNACE—The low bid of $1,675 from Mechanical Extreme of Addison was accepted for a new bus garage furnace.

SNOW—After Allen’s Quality Lawn Care informed the school that it would no longer clear snow on school grounds, the board voted to hire T&R Total Lawn Care of Morenci to serve for the remainder of the winter.

Allen’s will be given a 30-day termination notice for the lawn care contract and bids will be taken for that job.

TENURE—A decision on tenure/probation status for five teachers was tabled until April.

MUD—Bus driver Pat Houttekier made what she called her annual complaint about poor drainage in the bus parking lot, resulting in standing water and mud.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • 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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • 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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