Fayette school board 2011.10.26

Written by David Green.

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.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • 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.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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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