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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
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  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • 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.
  • 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.

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