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.

  • 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.
    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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