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.”

  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • 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.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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