The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Fayette school board 04.20.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette Board of Education members approved Monday a list of cuts for the 2011-12 school year totaling nearly $352,000, but that’s only only a partial fix to the projected $566,300 drop in revenue.

Superintendent of schools Russell Griggs told the board that a two-year projection shows a drop in revenue of up to $900,000. If the board can maintain the level of cuts for two years, about $700,000 of the losses could be covered. The district would still be forced to dip into its savings to cover the shortfall.

“We need to make drastic changes in our operation,” Griggs said when presenting his list of cuts, and he urged the board to act soon to avoid a deficit situation.

The tax equivalent of the shortfall is more than 12 mills, Griggs said, but he doesn’t see this as a time to ask district residents to pay more. Besides, an existing seven-mill levy expires next year and needs to be renewed or replaced.

The district’s income tax revenue is also declining.

District treasurer Kelly Bentley cautioned board members about media reports showing increases in state aid. There’s actually a combination of increases and decreases, she said, leaving Fayette with an eight percent drop in state revenue. The decline is equal to $449 per pupil over a two-year period.

“Nothing that I see is increasing,” Bentley said about the districts sources of revenue.

State and local projections shows a decline in property tax and income tax revenue; large reductions in the tangible personal property tax until it is phased out for the 2013 fiscal year; and the end of federal “stimulus funds” through the school stabilization program and the education jobs program. Add to that the deficit spending of $339,700 already in place for the current school year.

CUTS—Cuts for the next school year include the elimination of two elementary school teaching jobs and one special education teacher.

Reductions include changes in the librarian and technology positions. A vocational teacher, music teacher and one other high school teacher would go to half time. A change in the copy machine lease would save $11,000.

Supt. Griggs’s position would shrink from the current 0.5 full time equivalent to 0.2.

Any increase in unemployment costs will reduce the savings from the cuts approved by the board.

Griggs said he hears suggestions about cutting athletics, transportation and food service, but he doesn’t see that as a good approach. The district already operates its transportation service as the third most efficient in the state.

If athletics were eliminated, several students would transfer to other districts. The loss in revenue from fewer students would likely be higher than the savings in athletic costs, Griggs said.

He’s also taken food service out of the list of possible cuts because no general fund money is used to support the service, and the cafeteria fund remains healthy.

Griggs and Bentley continue to look for possible cuts, he said, but those three area will not be considered.

SPECIAL SERVICES—Griggs noted that Fayette has one of the highest percentage of special needs children in the four-county area. Special education costs top $800,000 annually.

CALENDAR—The approved a revised school calendar that places the final day for students on June 2.

NHS—The requirement for joining the National Honor Society will return to a 3.5 GPA, as it was prior to 2000 when the threshold was lowered to 3.25. The change will take effect with the class of 2015.

TECHNOLOGY—Technology coordinator Becky Short gave her final report to the board. She will begin a new job with the Northwest Ohio Education Service Center. Short will continue to help Fayette for some tasks, but most of her duties will be delegated to other staff members.

DONATIONS—The board accepted an anonymous donation of $95 to pay for a substitute teacher during the senior trip and $500 from the Fayette Area Foundation for band equipment.

CONTRACTS—Two-year limited contracts were approved for Kelly Barkhimer, Sarah Weiland and Marilyn Kinsman. A continuing contract was approved for Pamela Wise and a one-year contract for Lisa Hintz.

TRIPS—The senior trip to Florida was changed to include on overnight stay in Detroit at the start of the trip. The board approved a request for a girls basketball camp trip to the University of North Carolina June 25-July 3.

COACHES—The board approved the following coaching assignments for the next school year: one-year contracts for Bryan Stambaugh, cross country; Matt Maginn, assistant cross country; Alissa Stockburger, varsity/JV volleyball; Todd Mitchell, assistant golf; Matt Maginn, JV boys basketball; and Alissa Stockburger, varsity cheerleading.

Three year contracts were approved for Ryan Colegrove, golf, and Todd Mitchell, varsity boys basketball.

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