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Oxford School District approves 2019-20 budget

After a public hearing took place on July 22, the Oxford School District approved its $49 million budget for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.

The vote took place during Monday’s regular Board of Trustees meeting without further discussion.

Included in this year’s budget is the news that school taxes will not be raised for homeowners, as the millage rate will remain at 62.54. The rate increased from 58.67 to 62.54 in the 2018-19 budget, but the district was able to avoid a second hike in as many years.

“I think we’re where we need to be,” Oxford School District superintendent Brian Harvey said of the budget following the public hearing. “From a long-range planning standpoint, of course we’ve taken the steps to deliver to the taxpayers what was approved in the bond. We’re very fortunate we have a community that supports public education.”

The projected revenue for district maintenance is $49,075,349.73, but projected expenses for the school year total $45,926,524.47, leaving OSD with a surplus of just over $3.1 million. The projected surplus will not last long, as the district is planning to use it to help pay off the $50 million in construction costs. The $38 million bond issue that was voted on in 2017 ended up being nearly $12 million short of what it ended up costing to complete all the projects included in the bond.

After change orders and moving funds around, including the use of the projected operating surplus, OSD is expected to have $948,825.26 remaining in the surplus after all construction projects are completed and paid for.

Of the $49 million, nearly half is going toward teacher pay. $25.3 million is slotted for teacher salaries. Earlier this month, the Mississippi Department of Education announced it will cover the statewide teacher pay raise, including the nearly $14 million that was initially overlooked in the spring. The monthly allowance will go through December, with state legislature assuring MDE they will work on an appropriation bill to cover the remainder of this school year and beyond in January.

Other expenses include $2.3 million for school administration and $1.4 million for administration at the school district’s central office. The Oxford Middle School and High School athletic teams and clubs have been budgeted for a total of $1,172,430.30, with $1,015,422.30 of that budgeted for the high school.