Morenci school joins collaboration 2011.11.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Following the audit report by CPA Phil Rubley, Morenci Board of Education members voted to lay off a staff member Monday and to explore collaborative efforts with three other school districts.

The board voted to lay off Kay Holubik, the administrative assistant in the board office. 

“It’s a financial situation and we apologize for the situation that we’re in,” said superintendent of schools Dr. Michael Osborne. “We need to do things to make it through these times so we can be a stronger district and to make sure we always do have a district here.”

Holubik will remain with the district for a few weeks, he said, and during that time, discussions will take place for covering the assistant’s position.

Morenci will work with the Hudson, Onsted and Adrian school boards to explore collaborative efforts to cut costs.

 Morenci has been a county leader in instigating collaborative efforts in the past, Osborne said, and he would like to see that continue.

Working with Hudson was a natural move, he said, since the two school boards already meet regularly to discuss the shared superintendent. He saw the administrations at Onsted and Adrian as being interested in joining in.

County districts are always competing for students through the Schools of Choice option, Osborne noted, and that’s made cooperation difficult at times.

Administrators and board members have met over the past two months to discuss what’s keeping districts from working together: School of Choice, advertising for other’s students, driving buses into other districts to pick up kids.

“We believe we’ve come up with a proposal of how we can do that [cooperate] and we have some ideas of areas where we can start working together.”

A resolution passed by the board Monday serves as a public announcement stating that “we think this is the right thing to do, not only for Morenci but for the county,” Osborne said.

The effort isn’t only to save money, said board president Scott Merillat, but also to increase services. Smaller districts, for example, aren’t able to offer the same variety of courses as a larger district.

Other districts might want to join the group in the future, he said, but the decision was made to keep it small initially.

The resolution points toward the desire to create “a set of rules for competition that fosters creativity without creating an adversarial relationship.” 

Details about proposed collaborative efforts will be given in the future.

PERSONNEL: Sarah Cool was hired as a cafeteria cook and Chris Ramsey was hired as girls JV basketball coach. Jediah Hall was approved as a volunteer assistant for the eighth grade boys basketball team.

TREE: The board heard plans for planting a magnolia tree in memory of the late Carol Smith who worked in the high school office for more than three decades.

Four families are covering the cost of the planting and a memorial plaque.

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.

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