Morenci school board 2012.05.09

Written by David Green.

Morenci Board of Education members made it official Monday night, voting to remove the word “interim” from Phil Stark’s status as assistant principal/athletic director.

Stark was hired on an interim basis in March to fill the position through the end of the school year. In the meantime, administrators sought applications in order to fill the position permanently.

Secondary principal Kelli Campbell led an interview process last week, with eight new applications arriving in addition to the dozen that were initially received in March. The committee recommended keeping Stark on the job.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne pointed out that someone was needed to fill the position when Taz Wallace left the district in February. Osborne is pleased that Stark was available to work on an interim basis.

“He did an excellent job for us,” Osborne said. 

He described Stark as a person of character and with a great work ethic. He said Stark is also very willing to learn his job.

COACH—Eight applications were received for the position of head football coach and administrators will soon begin reviewing résumés.

Scott Merillat was approved as a volunteer assistant baseball coach.

AUDIT—Board members voted to hire the accounting firm of Lewis and Knoph from Flint to audit the district’s business office and the firm of Maner Costerisan of Lansing for an annual audit.

“We’re already paying for an audit with Phil [Rubley], so we’re going to have some extra costs above and beyond,” said board treasurer Phil Rubley.

[Additional information about the audits will be published in next week’s Observer.]

RETIREMENTS—The board approved the retirement of elementary school special education teacher Pat Burnard. She was described by Osborne as a loving and caring teacher who will be dearly missed.

Board members also accepted the resignation of bus driver Jim Yatzek. Osborne is impressed with the good relationships Yatzek has with students and he’s pleased that he will still be around for coaching.

LISD—Board members split 3-3 on a vote to approve the LISD budget—a vote taken annually by each school district in the county. 

Osborne said concerns have been expressed in the past how much of the LISD spending is directed at individual districts. He said the LISD shows a strong fund equity in most areas, however, the long-range forecast shows that being used up over the next five years.

Carrie Dillon, Ivy Hutchison and Laura Spencer voted to approve the budget. Gary Ries, Cyndee Sanders and Phil McCaskey voted against approval. Board president Scott Merillat was absent from the meeting.

Reasons must be given for the denial, Osborne said, and he declared the issue tabled.

TEACHERS—Campbell praised the teaching staff in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers make a difference in children’s lives every day, she said, and she urged teachers to think back and remember why they chose this career.

MENTORS—Elementary school principal Mary Fisher told board members that 60 volunteers served in the school’s mentoring program this year and made it a successful endeavor.

HONK—Osborne and Campbell both praised the all-school play, “Honk,” presented last weekend. Teacher Melissa Elliott said she appreciates the emphasis placed on the arts in the Morenci school district.

“The opportunity for students shows that we value many different kinds of kids in our district,” she said. “I also think it helps build community which is very important to me. It creates a cross generational opportunity.”

Audience members ranged from babies to great-grandparents, and the play itself involved students from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

She said the time that director Keith Filipek puts into the presentation, along with assistance from Lisa Acuña, is a labor of love.

BAND—The middle school band concert is scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday and the high school concert is scheduled May 15.

CLOSED—The board met in a closed session to discuss a teacher grievance and negotiations.

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