Morenci school board 2013.01.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci school’s general fund deficit has shrunk to $83,000 for the current school year and administrators are still hoping to reduce that amount by the time the school year ends.

For the following school year, however, the battle will begin all over again with a deficit expected to top $314,000.

“Overall we’re in a better situation,” said  finance director Erica Metcalf, “but we have a lot of work to do. There’s a flicker of hope that we can get there this year.”

Metcalf told school board members Monday how the financial picture has changed since her budget forecast was made last summer.

Improvements include a $37,000 insurance payment from a lightning strike that occurred in 2011; A $40,000 carryover in Title I funds, a change in special education funding; a change in transportation reimbursement from the LISD; an increase in At-Risk funding; and payment of delinquent taxes from Schoeller Arca Systems—the successor of Palm Plastics.

Overall, she said, there were several factors that she was unsure about when the budget was written.

The board approved an updated budget showing a deficit of $83,000, but Metcalf said she expects a smaller number by the end of the school year. In April, after winter tax payments are in and weather-related costs are known, she will have a much better idea of where the district stands.

“We’ve done a lot, but we have a lot to do,” she said. “When you look past June 30, it’s doom and gloom all over again.”

Board member Laura Spencer said she’s pleased with the improvement in the general fund, but as a CPA she would vote against the update because a deficit budget is not allowed.

Next year, she said, if the district takes no action there truly will be a $300,000 deficit because there’s no more fund balance to carry over.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne distributed a list of proposed cuts to board members at a committee meeting laying out his plan for attacking the deficit for the 2013-14 school year.

Meetings will be scheduled with staff members and community members to discuss the cuts. Osborne expects board action to occur at the Feb. 4 meeting.

  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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