Morenci schools receives federal grants 4.08.09

Written by David Green.

Morenci and the county’s other 11 public school districts are in line to share in $5.4 million in “emergency education funding” through the federal Recovery Act, but it’s not as simple as taking the money and putting it to good use, warns Superintendent of Schools Kyle Griffith.

He intends to evaluate the offer carefully to avoid creating services that will suddenly lack funding when the Recovery Act expires.

All the county funds are for Title I low-income programs and IDEA special education needs.

Morenci is offered $93,512 in Title I-A funding for programs in low-income communities, and $192,000 in IDEA funding for special education and related services to students with disabilities.

Both grants represent increases to existing funding in those two programs.

“The Recovery Act funds come with very specific details of how they are to be used,” Griffith said.

As an example, he pointed out that a bus is needed for transporting special needs children, but money for a bus purchase would have to come out of the general fund.

“The Recovery Act will help in the designated areas of Title I and IDEA, yet it does not give us the ability to invest in other areas that are needed for operation or general staffing,” Griffith said.

“Although the funds will be helpful, we must be careful in making the necessary financial adjustments so that in a year or two when the Recovery Act is done, we are not stuck with an increased deficit position.”

The funding won’t help the district cope with the deficit budget situation related to declining enrollment, Griffith said. The board of education must continue with the staff cuts announced last month.

On the other hand, the funding should allow the district to improve student achievement for at-risk and special needs students.

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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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