Morenci enrollment falling 2013.10.09


Morenci’s school enrollment took another dip this year—a little deeper than anticipated.

The Morenci Board of Education approved a budget in June based on an estimated enrollment of 700 students, but the preliminary number from the count day last week shows only 686 students.

With state aid coming in at $7,178 for Morenci, that results in a drop of $100,000.

Enrollment could vary some between now and the final day to report student numbers on Oct. 16.

Actual state aid is based on a rather complicated formula, explained superintendent Mike McAran. Starting with the number of students attending school in Morenci this fall, a blended count is determined based on 90 percent of the current enrollment plus 10 percent of the number attending last spring.

In addition, the full-time equivalency is determined by taking into account a variety of situations: home school students attending the TECH Center or attending some classes in Morenci; Morenci students attending special education classes in another district; students who are temporarily hospitalized or in a juvenile detention center, etc.

Once the Oct. 16 date passes, daily

records must be kept to log students who move into or out of the district. State aid is determined on a daily basis for new students.

“Barb Wright is very busy keeping track of it all,” McAran said.

AUDIT—During the annual audit report at Monday’s board of education meeting, board members heard about the strong financial gains made during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Steven Piesko from the firm of Maner Costerisan reviewed finances, pointing out that last year’s original budget looked at a $400,000 deficit and was later amended to $50,000.

At the end of the fiscal year, the district showed a positive balance of nearly $80,000.

The fund balance represented about five percent of the district’s budget. Ten percent is a target amount, Piesko said, but that figure is very challenging for most districts during the existing economic climate.

Piesko said the district’s audit was “clean” and he praised the efforts of district business manager Erica Metcalf.

During a committee meeting before the regular board meeting, Metcalf gave an update on the current financial state of the district.

Following many staffing changes made over the summer, she said the district stood at $16,667 better than last year, but the drop in enrollment could lead to a defi cit of $90,000.

CHANGES—Several grades showed significant declines in enrollment   from a year ago and only one showed much gain.

This year’s sophomore class dropped by eight students to 49 and the eighth grade class fell by six to 63. On the other hand, the freshman class grew by five students compared to the previous October.

This year’s kindergarden class stands at 49 students, just below the average class size for the district, and the senior class has 43 members. The largest class is the seventh grade at 64. The smallest is the fifth grade class at 39.