Morenci school board 2013.06.12

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.web
    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • 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.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.