Morenci school board 2013.06.12

Written by David Green.

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.

  • 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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