By DAVID GREEN
When Morenci auditor Philip Rubley makes his annual appearance at the Morenci Board of Education meeting, he generally has some positive words to say despite dwindling financial resources.
This year was different.
Rubley told the board that if something doesn’t change, the district is going to be out of cash within three years.
Rubley said the district has fallen short more than $400,000 during the past three school years, including a shortfall of $215,000 in the year of his report.
“The news tonight is that you’ve used up about 25 percent of your equity in one year,” he said. “So at this current rate, unless you can curb that, you’ve got two and a half years or so at this pace and you’ll be out of money in the general fund.”
Projecting finances into the future, the district doesn’t have a lot of room to operate without one of two things: an influx of revenue or additional cuts in costs.
Rubley said the food service fund continues to remain strong, unlike most school districts. It’s generally a problem area, he said, but Morenci has done remarkably well in recent years.
It needs to stay that way, he pointed out, of else the general fund would have to cover any shortfall.
He also praised Erica Metcalf’s auditing practices and noted she was within $2,500 of finishing the year where her budget predicted it would be.
“You have a very good accounting system,” Rubley said. “One of the best that we review.”