Morenci school board 2013.02.06

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci’s board of education is expected to meet Feb. 25 to officially call for a bond election and kick off the campaign for approval of a levy extension.

Board trustee Phil McCaskey said during a committee meeting Monday that he has already heard misconceptions stated about the bond, namely that it will increase taxes.

The bond, which would fund a variety of maintenance needs, would actually be an extension of an existing levy due to expire. By taking this approach, taxpayers would see no change in the amount of taxes money paid for school projects. The bond cannot be used for general operation of the district, such as salaries.

The bond vote is scheduled May 7 and board members intend to participate in meetings with staff members and the public prior to that.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Osborne suggested two sets of meetings. First, he thinks the board and administrators should meet with staff and the public prior to the Feb. 25 meeting to speak about the bond and also about possible reductions to cut costs.

“If we’re going to talk about the bond issue, why not discuss the reduction proposals, also?” he said.

For example, he said, there’s been some recent talk about moving the fifth grade classes back to the elementary school. This and other proposals need to be put before the public to obtain taxpayers’ responses and to collect ideas.

The meetings would follow the format of “here’s what we’re thinking,” Osborne said, rather than “this is what we’re doing” because at this point no firm decisions have been made.

“We need to get the conversation going,” Osborne said. 

“The only way to do that is to have an actual discussion about it,” said board president Scott Merillat, “and that can be hard.”

Questions about the proposals might come after the meetings, he said, because many people don’t feel comfortable speaking out at a meeting.

Once the specifics are nailed down—both for what projects the bond will address and for what cuts are planned—then, Osborne said, a second set of meetings can be scheduled to convince taxpayers that the bond is essential to the school district.

PERSONNEL—Sherri Dillon was hired to serve as the technology lab paraprofessional, replacing Laura Desmet. Josiah Fallot was hired to serve as a middle school Title I paraprofessional to replace Heather Dilworth.

The board learned that middle school teacher Deb Williams will retire at the end of the school year.

Supt. Osborne expressed his appreciation for her long service with the district, and also for announcing the retirement in advance to help with planning for the next year.

DRIVERS—Osborne thanked the district’s transportation staff while noting that February is School Bus Driver Appreciation Month.

  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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