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Oxford School District holding off on plans to build a new elementary school

Despite Oxford Elementary not having enough room to accommodate a growing number of first- and second-grade students, the district isn’t ready to move forward with a $23 million bond referendum to build a new school.

With enrollment numbers at Oxford’s elementary schools lower than previously expected, Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey said the district has a few more months before it’ll be ready to proceed with the referendum.

“I don’t think we’re quite at the point to move forward at this time,” Harvey said Monday at the OSD board meeting.

“We need to have a site selected and some conceptual drawings before doing the referendum and I don’t believe we’re in the position to do that right now.”

Harvey said kindergarten enrollment this year is lower than the past four years. Last year, Bramlett had 348 students registered for kindergarten, compared to 316 in 2016.

The crunch, however, has been in the first and second grades at Oxford Elementary. To help accommodate the growing number of first- and second-grade students, Bramlett added several first-grade classes with 91 students.

Last year, OE had 632 students register for first and second grades, compared to 604 for the current school year.

“We didn’t get the 69 percent increase we had last year,” Harvey said. “That doesn’t mean Oxford Elementary has enough room, or that we don’t need another school. It just means we have a little more time to get all of this in place.”

Harvey said he’d like to start working on details over the next few months and then move forward with the bond referendum in the spring.

“We’re not saying we don’t have to do this, just that we have a few months of breathing room,” said board president Marian Barksdale.

District-wide, OSD’s enrollment increased for the 2016-2017 school year to 4,269 from 4,196 for the 2015-2016 school year.

If the referendum is passed, homeowners would see a $20 raise in their taxes on a home valued at $100,000.