Morenci schools: Cuts coming in Morenci 2006.07.12

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN 

There’s a lot of hoping and gambling going on in Michigan school districts this summer. Administrators are hoping for a turn-around in the state economy and gambling on something better coming along from Lansing. That’s about all they can do without making rather severe programming cuts.

Newspapers across the state are publishing stories about smaller school districts facing budget shortfalls of $150,000, $250,000, some even higher, such as Morenci’s position at $285,000—and that’s after $266,000 the year before.

Board members aren’t going to let that figure stand this year. They’re well aware that an unresolved deficit from one year carries over into the next year to compound the problem. It doesn’t take long before fund reserves are dwindling to a dangerously low level.

Eventually, the reserve shrinks to a size in which it can no longer serve its purpose of carrying a district through a financial crisis. With the deficits many districts are facing, every day is a financial crisis, and it just doesn’t go away.

Litchfield schools turned a quarter million dollar shortfall into a balanced budget in one painful evening. The pain will be felt again in September when at least five staff members will no longer be working.

Morenci board members are mulling possible cuts before the start of the next school year. The goal is to take action that will least affect the education of children. But be forewarned: with two consecutive years of enormous deficits and the fund balance shrinking, the pain will be felt in this district, also.

   - July 12, 2006 
  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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