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.