Morenci school board 2013.03.06

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci Board of Education members filled some staff positions Monday night and heard questions from an audience member about the operation of the district.

Lucie Mansfield was hired through Title I funds to work with kindergarten students on mathematics and reading skills. She has worked as a substitute in the district for more than two years.

Dawn Williams was hired to fill a vacancy in the middle school. She will offer remedial help to fifth grade students and provide cafeteria supervision.

Three coaches were approved by the board. Megan Petticrew will assist Dan Hoffman as middle school track coach. Phil Stark was hired as head baseball coach and Waldron graduate Mike Blood will assist him.

The board approved the impending retirement of veteran elementary school teacher Robin Borton.

Her classroom is always a pleasure to visit, said superintendent Michael Osborne. He stated his appreciation for her early retirement announcement to assist the board with planning for the next school year.

GOLF—Student Kendrick Taylor gave an update on the golf program, stating there are now four students who intend to participate this spring.

About $400 was brought in through fund-raising efforts, he said, but he’s still seeking financial support from the school. If it’s not forthcoming, Taylor said he has an offer from the Hudson golf coach who would allow Morenci’s team to compete with the Hudson program.

QUESTIONS—Audience member Jason Schmidt asked a series of questions about the operation of the school.

Schmidt asked about the management structure of the district and wondered about how often administrators are out in the hallways and in classrooms. If interaction is infrequent, he wondered how management of the buildings is accomplished.

He asked about the training of new staff members and whether or not they’re clear about their responsibilities.

“Who keeps them accountable for what they’re supposed to be doing?” he asked.

Schmidt said that secretaries and paraprofessionals are often involved in discipline issues and he wondered if that’s their responsibility.

Some staff members arrive before their contracted time, give up their lunch break and stay an hour after school in an effort to accomplish their jobs, he said. 

“There are hourly employees who are donating two and a half hours a day in order to get their jobs done due to cuts,” he said. “I understand cuts, but when they ask for some compensation to make up some of that, it’s like pulling teeth.”

Schmidt encouraged board members to talk to parents to learn why they’re frustrated with the district and why some are considering other educational options.

Schmidt urged more interaction between administrators and other staff members so those in charge can understand what employees are going through in order to keep the district operating smoothly.

Supt. Osborne responded by saying that Schmidt’s questions were good ones for the board to discuss and to respond to later.

Board member Ivy Hutchison said she wants the public to know that many of the concerns Schmidt mentioned have been discussed by the board. In many cases, she said, there’s no simple answer.

Laura Spencer said community involvement is essential and she thanked Schmidt for standing up and asking the questions and addressing issues of concern.

“We need community support and we need community involvement,” she said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to help us get through these tough times.”

“Your advocacy is great, Jason,” trustee Phil McCaskey said. “I wish more people in the community would get involved.”

He urged Schmidt to discuss issues with principals, also, noting that many questions could probably be answered before coming to the board.

“Whatever it takes, we’re all in this together,” McCaskey said. “It takes a community to raise these kids. It takes a community to educate these kids.”

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • 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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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