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.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • 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.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.

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