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 looking for levy support 2011.10.12

Written by David Green.

Fayette’s board of education is looking for voter support Nov. 8 to keep local funding steady as state support declines.

The 7-mill levy was first passed in 2002, and renewed in 2007. It expires in 2012. If renewed, funding will begin in 2013 and continue through 2017.

“It has been placed on the ballot now to provide for basic stability for the district for five years after the current levy expires,” said superintendent of school Russ Griggs. “It was also placed on the General Election ballot because special elections are more expensive for the district, using more taxpayer dollars to run the election.”

The renewal is not a new tax, he said. and the levy currently paid by property owners in the school district generates $298,500 a year.

“This revenue is essential for the operation of the district in providing educational programs and services,” Griggs said. “The money will not be used for new staff or programs. It is necessary to avoid larger cuts and reductions in programs.”

Cuts have already occurred due to a drop in other funding sources. During the past five years, Griggs said the district has made the following cuts: staff by five and 5/8 teachers, half a custodial position, one teacher aide, EMIS position was combined with the Library Media position, 7/10 superintendent position, and 3/5 technology position.

In addition, the high school counselor also teaches mathematics classes and the elementary guidance counselor has taken on other additional duties. The weight room supervisor has been a voluntary position for the past two years. Bus routes have been consolidated and the district was ranked third in the state for efficiency in transportation last year. 

Two supplemental positions were not filled this year. Budgets for supplies, materials and equipment have been reduced. Substantial savings have taken place in the treasurer’s office.

Utility costs have been lowered by conservation efforts and the wind turbine. With the assistance of a rebate program from First Energy, the gymnasium lights will be replaced with more efficient lighting for basketball season. More efficient bulbs will be installed in many other areas of the building leading to lower long-term operational cost.

 Griggs said that staff salaries have been frozen and starting teacher pay remains the same for the sixth year in a row. The health insurance program has changed from the top level benefit to a much lower level plan, with staff paying a significantly higher amount of co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses.

“The teacher and classified employee bargaining units have been very cooperative in controlling personnel costs,” Griggs said.

EXCELLENCE—Despite the cuts, Fayette was rated “excellent” three out of the past four years by the Ohio Department of Education. The district met 25 out of 26 state standards this past year.

“Renewal of this levy is essential to the future of Fayette Local Schools,” Griggs said.

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