Morenci, Hudson agree to shared superintendent 04.14.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It didn’t take the Morenci Board of Education long to make its decision: Dr. Michael Osborne now belongs to Morenci, as well as Hudson.mike.osborne.jpg

The Hudson board voted 6-1 Monday night to join with Morenci in a shared superintendent agreement. One board member cast a “no” vote, claiming the process was rushed.

Morenci board members also voted Monday and unanimously approved a contract.

The new arrangement was to take effect the next day and Osborne spent his first day in Morenci Tuesday (yesterday).

The contract that each board signed calls for Osborne to serve both schools through the end of the 2010-11 school year, at which time the arrangement will be evaluated. Neither district has the right to opt out of the agreement during the initial contract.

Osborne will spend two days a week in Hudson and two in Morenci, on the average. The fifth day of the week will alternate between the two districts.

Osborne noted the state is going through one of the most challenging periods of time in many years, and unfortunately, one of the most difficult years is approaching.

“I really applaud both school boards for even being willing to consider this,” he said. “We do hope it’s the right thing to do.”

Both boards realize how important school districts are to a community, he said. The sharing plan will save money, benefit the schools and keep the identity of both districts.

He praised the collaborative effort between the two schools.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity to work more closely with Morenci’s board,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to do and tomorrow morning we’re going to get started on that right away.”

Osborne praised the efforts of Morenci’s high school principal Nate Parker who served in that role as well as taking on extra duties as interim superintendent.

Morenci board member Dwight Mansfield said he’s talked to a lot of people in the Hudson area and he’s heard nothing but complimentary remarks about Dr. Osborne.

“We’re privileged and fortunate to have you here with us,” he said.

Mansfield looks forward to continuing work with Hudson for other collaborative efforts.

Audience member and teacher Sally Kruger thanked the board for its actions.

“I want to commend you for being creative in your thinking and being open-minded,” she said.

She also praised how the entire process was carried out in an open manner.

“I think we’ve started something,” said board member Phil McCaskey. “I think others were just waiting for someone else to do it.”

Since the discussion between Morenci and Hudson got underway in February, several other districts have discussed making changes, he said.

LAWN BID—Morenci board members voted to award the school’s lawn care bid to T&R Total Lawn Care of Morenci. The two-year pact goes through March 31, 2012.

Board president Scott Merillat thanked T&R owner Micah Borton for his assistance with maintenance needs on short notice.

Merillat noted that Morenci and Hudson worked together on the bid process but decided to hire separate lawn care firms.

Osborne saw this as a positive step, showing that the boards can work together but still maintain independence.

  • 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
  • Front.sculpta
    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.
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    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.
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    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.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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