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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

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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