By DAVID GREEN
It didn’t take the Morenci Board of Education long to make its decision: Dr. Michael Osborne now belongs to Morenci, as well as Hudson.
The Hudson board voted 6-1 Monday night to join with Morenci in a shared superintendent agreement. One board member cast a “no” vote, claiming the process was rushed.
Morenci board members also voted Monday and unanimously approved a contract.
The new arrangement was to take effect the next day and Osborne spent his first day in Morenci Tuesday (yesterday).
The contract that each board signed calls for Osborne to serve both schools through the end of the 2010-11 school year, at which time the arrangement will be evaluated. Neither district has the right to opt out of the agreement during the initial contract.
Osborne will spend two days a week in Hudson and two in Morenci, on the average. The fifth day of the week will alternate between the two districts.
Osborne noted the state is going through one of the most challenging periods of time in many years, and unfortunately, one of the most difficult years is approaching.
“I really applaud both school boards for even being willing to consider this,” he said. “We do hope it’s the right thing to do.”
Both boards realize how important school districts are to a community, he said. The sharing plan will save money, benefit the schools and keep the identity of both districts.
He praised the collaborative effort between the two schools.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity to work more closely with Morenci’s board,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to do and tomorrow morning we’re going to get started on that right away.”
Osborne praised the efforts of Morenci’s high school principal Nate Parker who served in that role as well as taking on extra duties as interim superintendent.
Morenci board member Dwight Mansfield said he’s talked to a lot of people in the Hudson area and he’s heard nothing but complimentary remarks about Dr. Osborne.
“We’re privileged and fortunate to have you here with us,” he said.
Mansfield looks forward to continuing work with Hudson for other collaborative efforts.
Audience member and teacher Sally Kruger thanked the board for its actions.
“I want to commend you for being creative in your thinking and being open-minded,” she said.
She also praised how the entire process was carried out in an open manner.
“I think we’ve started something,” said board member Phil McCaskey. “I think others were just waiting for someone else to do it.”
Since the discussion between Morenci and Hudson got underway in February, several other districts have discussed making changes, he said.
LAWN BID—Morenci board members voted to award the school’s lawn care bid to T&R Total Lawn Care of Morenci. The two-year pact goes through March 31, 2012.
Board president Scott Merillat thanked T&R owner Micah Borton for his assistance with maintenance needs on short notice.
Merillat noted that Morenci and Hudson worked together on the bid process but decided to hire separate lawn care firms.
Osborne saw this as a positive step, showing that the boards can work together but still maintain independence.