Morenci board of education considering updates 2015.07.08

When Morenci's board of education meets July 14, discussion will move beyond the committee level on a variety of school policies. A few are updates to existing policies to meet changing state standards, while others deal with Morenci's own changes and challenges.

The board will begin discussing some issues next week, but probably not vote on policy issues until August.

MIDDLE COLLEGE—The Lenawee ISD started a "middle college" four years ago that is attracting some of the top students from regular public schools. That, in turn, affects the academic status of the local districts that lose students to the program. Middle college has support from Gov. Rick Snyder, said Morenci superintendent of schools Mike McAran and most counties in the state now have a program.

Since the LISD can't grant diplomas, each student's home district must present one. This leads to a question of whether or not a middle college graduate should be allowed to participate in commencement. A year ago the board was opposed to that option, since the student would not be graduating with credit earned at Morenci, but no formal policy was written.

Local districts receive only 10 percent of the state aid given for each middle college student.

The board must also consider allowing middle college students to participate in athletics at their home school. Currently, only four county districts allow that practice. Morenci could lose athletes by not creating a policy to allow it.

The board must also consider whether alternative school students should be allowed to participate in athletics.

TRANSGENDER—Because Morenci has a student who is in the process of changing genders, the board needs to create a policy for restroom use by transgender students. Federal guidelines suggest a unisex facility with a lockable stall.

McAran is suggesting the use of a faculty restroom located in the hallway connecting the two schools and the student will be given a key.

Facilities must be provided, McAran said, and although this will not cost the district additional funds, the school has many obligations that do—many of which didn't exist when many voters were in school. For example, a family in the Morenci district enrolls its children at Sand Creek, but one student needs to be transported to Adrian for special education services. Because the family resides in the Morenci district, Morenci is obligated to provide transportation. A van will be purchased rather than using a regular school bus every day.

FACILITIES—The board's policy committee recommends charging a $10 rental fee to anyone who uses school facilities and charges others. For example, if someone were to teach a course in the evenings and charge students, then a rental fee would be assessed.

DIPLOMAS—Anyone attending commencement in recent years has noticed that school board members frequently walk onto the stage to present diplomas to certain seniors. The board will discuss this practice and talk about who should present diplomas. 

EVALUATION—The factor of student academic growth will be added to the evaluation form for school administrators and professional staff.

OTHERS—Many policy matters will be addressed to match changing state policy, including kindergarten entrance age; immunization waiver; assessment and intervention strategies pertaining to student suicide; graduation requirements; bullying and other aggressive behavior; and animals on school district policy.