Fayette school board 2011.10.26

Written by David Green.


Since May, the Fayette Board of Education approved budget cuts of nearly $327,000. During that same time, state support increased by only $40,000.

This points to the importance of the millage renewal request on the Nov. 8 ballot, superintendent Russ Griggs said at the Oct. 17 school board meeting.

Despite cuts in staff and salaries, the district desperately needs to maintain existing revenue to stay afloat.

Griggs said his main point to voters is that the levy is not a new tax, but only a renewal of what’s been paid for many years.

“It’s absolutely essential to the operation of the district,” Griggs said. “Failure to renew the levy would be catastrophic for the district. Even with passing the levy, due to decreasing revenue from the state, operation of the school district is going to be difficult financially, at best.”

District treasurer Kelly Bentley pointed out that Fayette’s average teacher salary and administrator salary is significantly below the state average, along with per-pupil spending.

“I think that says a lot for our district that we’re trying to be as conservative as we can,” she said.

Bentley told the board that an earlier projection called for Fayette to be one of 10 schools in the region to show a negative balance in 2013, but due to the staff cuts, the district should remain in the black until the 2014 school year.

Bentley said the district received a bonus of $17 per student from the state for achieving the “excellent” academic rating.

GIFT—The district is to receive 10 percent of the Nora (Nash) Smith trust for student scholarships. Smith graduated from Fayette in 1952 and then left the area. The amount is not yet known.

INSURANCE—Insurance costs will increase nine percent for the current school year. Despite a decision by staff members to pay more of the cost, the district will still pay an additional $26,000. That cost would have been much higher without the help from staff members, Bentley said.

DONATIONS—The Parent Support Group for the Class of 2012 donated $598 to purchase graduation caps and gowns.

The Fayette Athletic Boosters donated $4,900 to buy uniforms that will be worn by the cross country and track and field teams.

PLOWING—The board voted to accept a three-year contract with Jeff Keefer for snow removal. The contract calls for an increased cost due to the price of diesel fuel.

STAFF—Veronica Molina was approved as a substitute employee for several positions. Carolee Hartman resigned from her full-time bus driver job and was hired as a substitute driver.

Wendy Adams was hired to fill the dish washer preparation position for three hours a day.

Brian Keefer, Rodney Kessler and Heath Armstrong were approved as volunteers with the boys basketball program. Carrie Ueberroth will serve as elementary school student council advisor.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Front.chat
    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.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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