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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.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.

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