The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Board president addresses concerns 2012.10.03

Written by David Green.

Morenci Board of Education president Scott Merillat addressed concerns he’s heard recently about the direction the school is taking.

“This last week or so I’ve heard a lot of rumors going around about things that haven’t been discussed at the board level,” he said.

Merillat summarized recent events by noting that a contract with the teachers was signed shortly before the school year, however, the board adopted a budget showing an expected $350,000 shortfall.

That amount will wipe out all reserve funds and put the district into deficit. This brings about the need for a deficit elimination plan and on top of that, he said, the board must balance the budget.

“We’ve put that burden on [district superintendent] Dr. Osborne to begin looking at things,” Merillat said.

Secondary principal Kelli Campbell looked at the situation last year and decided to combine the high school and middle school offices, and the board has discussed moving the board of education offices into the high school.

Discussion also began about making changes at the business office. Among three options, only one seemed feasible at the present time—moving the business office duties to the Lenawee ISD—and a representative from that office spoke to the board last week about how it might be handled.

A substantial savings would be realized from the move, however, there are many duties that wouldn’t be covered by the ISD and further study is needed.

“There hasn’t been any discussion about the consolidation of services with other school districts,” Merillat said, “but over the next year probably everything will be looked at. At some point we’ve got to save $350,000, and 85 percent of our costs for our school district are employees.”

There’s a continual search for ways to operate the district more efficiently. Over the years, he said, the board has had to ask for more and more from all school employees, but it’s now going beyond doing more. The board has directed the superintendent to come up with a balanced budget.

“I want to assure everyone that it’s in the best interest of the board, the superintendent, the administrators, to have a district here,” Merillat said. “That’s our goal.”

Without a local school district, the community would be substantially diminished. The school is the town, he said.

He encouraged community members to contact a board member or administrator with concerns or questions, and to check on the accuracy of rumors.

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