Morenci school board 07.14.2010

Written by David Green.


All of the laid-off staff members are returning to Morenci classrooms in September, but one administrator will be missing.

Middle school principal Kay Johnson had decided not to return to her administrative post, however, she intends to continue as softball coach.

Johnson served as a physical education teacher for most of her lengthy career with Morenci schools but was appointed interim middle school principal in 1995.

She retired in 2007 after 35 years with the district, but was immediately rehired to continue serving as principal.

High school principal Nate Parker will take on a new role as principal for both schools, covering grades five through 12, but he will have some help.

“We’re looking at what additional staff will be needed,” said superintendent Michael Osborne.

The district is still without an athletic director and an assistant principal job could be tied in with that position, Osborne said. Administrators will continue to explore options while cutting costs through the change in principal duties.

Sixteen staff members received layoff notices in April, but all were recalled at the  school board meeting Monday.

The board voted to recall teachers Jesse Bach, Matt Bostick, Kelly Bush, Jamie DeVoe, Keith Filipek, Paula Grieder, Ashley Joughin and Chris Mansfield; paraprofessionals Lisa Acuña, Heather Dilworth, Amy Schmidt and Brandon VanEtten; cooks Rebecca Davis and Ronda McCaskey; and bus drivers Gwenda Eichler and April Shaffer.

“We know who we will start the year with,” Osborne said, but that doesn’t mean cuts won’t follow.

When enrollment dropped more than expected last September, staff reductions were made in late November at the end of the first trimester.

Osborne said his goal is always to make staff adjustments during the summer and avoid cuts once school is underway, but state aid reductions and enrollment changes don’t always allow that.

OFFICERS—School board officers will remain the same for the next year: Scott Merillat, president; Carrie Dillon, vice president; Cyndee Sanders, secretary; Gary Ries, treasurer.

Committee assignments are: Dillon and Ivy Hutchison, curriculum; Phil McCaskey and Dillon, building and site; Dwight Mansfield and Ries, finance; Sanders and McCaskey, personnel.

The board will continue to meet at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of the month with three exceptions. Meetings are scheduled Sept. 13, Jan. 10 and April 11.

COACH—Shana Love was approved as JV volleyball coach for the 2010-11 school year.

POLICIES—Merillat suggested appointing a policy review committee at the next board meeting.

“Some of our current policies we aren’t following,” he said, and the board needs to decide which ones it wants to retain or change.

  • 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.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.

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