Morenci Board of Education members approved year-end budget adjustments at a special meeting last week, then followed with a vote to approve the initial budget for the 2013-14 school year.
The current year will end at $49,000 in the hole; the next year could finish with a balanced budget.
Finance director Erica Metcalf explained changes in funding that cut her initial deficit projection of $399,000 to less than $50,000. The district finally received an insurance payment from a lightning strike in 2010 and significant changes were made regarding special education payments.
Metcalf said she used revenue figures on the low side initially since she didn't know where funding would end up. Now she has a firmer grasp on the figures, but the budget still includes some estimates such as utility costs.
The budget for the next school year must be approved by July 1, even though many revenues and expenditures are still unknown. Changes will have to be made when more information arrives, Metcalf said.
State support will increase, she said, but it will remain below the level of a few years ago. Enrollment remains an unknown, but Metcalf used an estimate of 700 students, down from current funding level of 718.
In total, she said, the assumptions used for revenue point to a balanced budget for the next school year.
"I want to caution that we still have an immense amount of work to do," Metcalf said.
The district will have a cash-flow problem until state payments resume in the fall and Metcalf recommends that the district borrow $1.1 million.