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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    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
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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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    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.
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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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