Morenci schools prepare for cuts 03.23.2011

Written by David Green.

Budget proposals coming out of Lansing have cast a negative pall over school boards throughout Michigan. If Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal were accepted, Morenci’s funding would drop by up to a million dollars.

“There have been several announcements regarding the state budget and there have been several proposed bills,” said Morenci Superintendent of Schools Michael Osborne.

He plans to meet with teachers to explain the situation and also at two public meetings. The first of these is at noon today (Wednesday) at the Morenci Kiwanis Club meeting. The second is at the board of education meeting scheduled at 7 p.m. April 11.

“Our goal is not to scare people,” he said. “Our goal is to keep you informed and to involve our staff and the community in the process of being the solution in how we address these challenges.”

He intends to present an overview of what’s been done in recent years to meet financial shortfalls and how the new cuts could affect school operations here.

At the extreme, one proposal could close schools due to state aid cuts and force consolidation. One measure moving through the house would allow financial managers to take over the operation of schools and municipalities that are in a deficit situation. Managers are currently being trained for the job, Osborne said.

Hudson schools are in a deficit this year, he said, but the district should be out of it next year. Osborne doesn’t expect that situation to be addressed by financial managers, but rather school districts with chronic deficit troubles.

Looking back on recent years, proposed cuts are often moderated, meaning that Morenci’s loss would end up being less than $1 million. Still, Osborne expects a significant reduction in financing.

“It’s hard to imagine we’re going to make it through the next year without cuts,” he said.

Staff members will have to consider concessions and layoffs are likely.

The board will meet for a special session at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) to discuss staff negotiations. The discussion will be in a closed meeting, Osborne said.

  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
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    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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