Morenci school board 2013.06.12

Written by David Green.


School finances might show some improvement in the next fiscal year, predicts Morenci finance director Erica Metcalf.

Metcalf went through various plusses and minuses for the 2013-14 school year at a board of education committee meeting June 3. She sees possible increases in some areas and declines in revenue in others, but overall Metcalf sees more positives than in recent years.

“It’s the first crack that we’ve seen collectively as a state, an indication that there’s hope,” she said. “While this is good news, we’ve still got a battle to fight.”

Enrollment levels will remain an unknown until school gets underway in September and some funding sources are not clear.

The annual budget hearing is scheduled at 7 p.m. June 26 and Metcalf hopes to have more information by then.

She put funding into perspective by noting that the projected revenue for the next school year is still lower than what the district received seven years ago. Meanwhile, retirement and insurance costs have increased during that time while enrollment has dropped significantly.

“With the foundation allowance less than it was in 2006-07, shouldn’t we roll salaries back to where they were then?” asked board president Scott Merillat.

It’s very alarming to look at the reductions, Metcalf said.

“There’s still a lot of work to do and a lot can happen between now and [the start of school],” she said.

“We need to look back at 2006-07 to see what we were doing back then to make things work at that level,” said board member Laura Spencer.

Enrollment has shrunk by nearly 100 students since then, Metcalf pointed out.

Spencer wants to make sure there’s money in the budget for curriculum needs and to make sure teachers have “the right tools.”

She suggested the need for more planning to lay out the needs and goals of the district.

“We need a bigger plan than just the current year,” she said. “It’s not that you’re going to stick with the plan necessarily. It’s revisited every year.”

TEACHER-LEADER—Fifth grade teacher Melissa Elliott spoke to the board about a proposal to have a teacher-leader in place at the elementary school to serve in a leadership position when the principal is not in the building. She learned about the concept from a substitute teacher.

All teachers interested in participating would take turns in filling the post for two week blocks of time. A list of duties would be prepared for the person to accomplish.

It would place a familiar face in the building to give security to children and to serve as a liaison to parents and to whoever is hired to serve as the administrator.

Board members have discussed hiring a K-12 principal who wouldn’t be in the elementary building all the time.

In addition, the board read a letter from art teacher Kym Ries whose daughter observed a similar concept in a Minnesota school. 

In that case, a teacher with an interest in administration serves as a dean of students for two years to assist the principal.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • 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.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.

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