School audit report 11.4.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Morenci Board of Education received a positive report from its past-year audit, but the reality of the current year came through later in the evening.

Auditor Phillip Rubley told board members the district was in a good position for the current economic times, but he cautioned that the situation could change rapidly.

The board has already seen some of those changes through the combination of lower enrollment and cuts in state funding. That led to the decision to lay off 2.5 teaching positions, one paraprofessional and two full-time secretaries. The cuts will take effect for the second trimester starting after the Thanksgiving break.

Additional cuts could be announced later, based on the final outcome of state funding decisions.

Superintendent of schools Kyle Griffith told audience members that the layoff decisions were very difficult for the board.

He said he doesn’t blame people for being angry about the cuts, but he urged people to channel their anger toward Lansing where legislators must work to make school funding right.

Rubley’s review of the audit showed an excess of $283,000 in revenue over spending before transfers to other funds, mainly athletics.

After transfers, the district’s fund equity stood at $811,952, as of June 30, 2009.

Rubley explained that he is also required to examine finances from a business model perspective of accounting. This gives a truer picture of equity, he said, since it shows total depreciation and debt obligations.

This approach places the fund equity at $629,000. The equity went down by $203,000 from the previous year, but Rubley said he believes it’s still in a good position for a district of this size.

“I think this is a very good report for the times,” he said. “I think you’re in a pretty good financial position, but you need to be extremely cautious.”

Additional state funding cuts could deliver a loss of $230,000 to $250,000 very quickly, he said.

Rubley said the food service account is in very good shape, with an equity of $147,000. The $225,000 transfer to the athletic fund was $20,000 less than budgeted.

Rubley gave the district the top rating for its accounting practices.

“Your system is excellent and probably one of the cleanest we audit,” Rubley said. “Your accounting records are very thorough and precise.”

Rubley said it’s rare to present an audit without some deficiencies, but he had none to discuss.

“You should be commended for that,” he said.

  • Front.sculpta
    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.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    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.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    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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