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Oxford schools could be impacted by President Donald Trump’s new executive order

A new executive order signed by President Trump on Wednesday loomed over a preliminary budget meeting work session held by the Oxford Board of Education.

The Education Federalism Executive Order will launch a 300-day review of the schools in the nation with the intent to limit federal spending on education, leaving it mostly to the states.

Thursday night the board met with their business manager, Chuck Rainey, to discuss options for the budget.

“This is not, at this point in time, a complete document,” Rainey explained regarding the 2017-2018 budget. “We don’t have our assessed values until June. Federal funding is really up in the air and who knows when we will hear about that. Today is where we are right now.”

The current preliminary budget that was presented currently stands at $41,316,317.83. The budget for the 2016-2017 school year was $51,244,118. It is unknown at this time what, or if, anything will be added to the draft that would increase it.

Superintendent Brian Harvey presented a list of requirements that the district will have to pay for, including replenishing the district’s fund balance for payroll and two new school buses.

However, a list of positions was also mentioned that might not come to fruition this year if Trump’s order cuts funding to the state. Particularly, the funds for Title I and II programs that issue money to the district and schools. $205,000 has already been cut to Title I funds this year.

“I don’t look for the (E.O.) to be budget positive,” Harvey said. “These are the positions that are not exactly considered to be cut at this point, but positions that if title funds were cut, we’re going to have to address in the budget process. If Title I funds continue to get cut, we’re going to have to find a way to address those two positions.”

Some of the positions in question that would be dependent on Title I funding include an intervention technology and reading specialists.

Harvey also raised the topic of expanding the district’s pre-K programming. He proposed adding three positions and two classrooms for $180,000.

Toward the end of the meeting, Rainey again brought Trump.

“If they come through with draconian cuts, we’re limited to what we can get from local (funding),” he said. “We’ll have to be ready to go from these changes.”