Morenci school board 2013.01.09

Written 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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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