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.

  • Shadow.salon
    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.
  • Front.bank.2
    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.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • 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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