Morenci receives positive school audit 11.10.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A combination of higher revenues and cuts in spending left Morenci Area Schools in the black for the 2009-10 school year.

CPA Philip Rubley presented his annual audit report to board of education members at the Nov. 1 meeting, telling the board the 2009-10 budget ended with a surplus of $10,964 on June 30.

Added to the carry-over from past years, the district’s fund equity stands at $822,296.

Rubley praised the district for reacting quickly to the anticipated deficit and making adjustments to reduce spending. When the budget was approved in June 2008, a shortfall of $250,000 was expected. It was later estimated at $150,000.

“You improved your position of where you thought you would be by $160,000,” Rubley said.

Teaching staff cuts trimmed $52,400 from the budget and other staff cuts brought additional savings of $42,000. Revenue was $35,000 higher than expected.

“You’ve been fiscally responsible,” Rubley said. “By being able to curb your costs and get into a positive position, you just bought some time.”

Rubley noted that cuts in the athletic department resulted in a drop of $20,000 to the amount transferred from the general fund ($225,000). Without that, the general fund would have gone into a deficit.

Similarly, upgrades in the food service department cost about $50,000, but all of that money was taken from the food service fund rather than from the general fund.

“You have very good utilization in your food service program,” Rubley said.

The general fund is also in good shape, he said, and the fund equity would cover three months of operation, as recommended by Rubley.

However, he cautioned the board to keep a close eye on expenses.

“These are very scary times,” he said. “$800,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it’s not all in cash. If you don’t keep on top of your budget, it could erode very fast.”

Board of education president Scott Merillat called the reduction from the expected deficit to zero an amazing feat, and he praised the past and current administration for its efforts.

“We made some really hard decisions and we got some help from the unions and from retirements,” Merillat said. “With everybody coming together, we’ve come a long way.”

RESIGNATION—The board accepted the resignation of head football coach Tom Saylor.

ADVERSITY—Secondary principal Stephen Phillip said the school staff has pulled together during recent adversity. Board member Ivy Hutchison commended the staff for its assistance following the death of Collin Fletcher. Phil McCaskey added that the staff’s reaction time was quick and that the way the incident was handled for students is “something to be proud of.”

SUSPENSION—The board met in a closed session to discuss the suspension of two students. One student was suspended for the remainder of the trimester and another was suspended through the end of the school year.

The suspensions were due to possession of illegal substances on school grounds.

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