• Shadow.salon
    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.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • 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.

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 

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