Morenci school board 2013.09.05

Morenci's teachers union ratified a contract agreement Aug. 19 after a fairly short negotiation session and board of education members made the contract official last week at a special meeting.

The board voted to accept a contract Aug. 27 that calls for a freeze on salary and insurance benefits. A cut in salary was discussed earlier in the year, but instead pay was frozen at the 2012-13 level.

In the future, said Morenci superintendent Mike McAran, pay will be based on student achievement due to a new law that takes effect at the end of the current school year.

TRAINER—Athletic trainer Robin Denney will now serve Morenci's sports program in conjunction with the 3 Dimensional Physical Therapy office in Adrian. In the past, Denney was paid $20,000 by Morenci as an independent contractor, serving the sports programs an average of 20 hours a week.

By working through 3 Dimensional, she will have liability insurance through that agency. She will now be paid $22,500 and work an average of 25 hours a week.

Many districts in the county have employed a trainer through ProMedica, McAran said, but that service wasn't offered to Morenci. The cost used to be $8,000 but has increased to $50,000 this year.

POLICE—The district will pay the cost to have an off-duty police officer attend home football games. An officer's presence helps cut down on potential problems, McAran said. The City of Morenci has donated the pay in the past.

The school will also pay the wages for an ambulance and two EMTs to be present at home football games.

LUNCH—Lunch prices have increased by a nickel ($2.20 for the upper grades; $1.90 for elementary) due to federal guidelines tied to the free and reduced lunch program.

PERSONNEL—In addition to hiring the new teachers listed in last week's Observer, board members accepted the resignations of mathematics teacher Brad Brown who is now working at Pittsford; of elementary school paraprofessional Brandon VanEtten; and of cheerleading coach Nancy Skampo.

Jacob Bovee was approved as an assistant varsity football coach and Brett McDowell was accepted as an assistant junior varsity coach. Keith Stowell was hired as the cross country coach following the resignation of Brown.

VAN—The board accepted an offer from Underwood Chevrolet and Buick for an eight-passenger van at a cost of $27,900. A chair lift already owned by the district was fitted into the new vehicle. 

The van will be used to transport a rural youth to a special class in Adrian and it will transport two former students back to Morenci in accordance with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.

BIDS—Bids were approved for bread products from Aunt Millie's; gasoline through Lightning Quick; and dairy products through Arps Dairy. Arps did not offer the lowest of two bids, but board members acted on a recommendation from the food service staff. A diesel fuel bid will be approved on a monthly basis due to fluctuating prices and size of the district's tank.

WAIVER—Board members approved a Seat Time Waiver Program to match state guidelines for on-line classes. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder pushed the program that follows the slogan "Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace." This would allow a student to, for example, take an English class in Morenci and take a mathematics class on-line from Adrian or from a private virtual school. If a student was suspended from school, he or she could take classes through the waiver program.

MEETING—The board will meet for a special session Sept. 17 to discuss several policy changes.