Oxford School District considers tax rate increase

town_oxford_greenBy Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – A bare quorum of school board members and only two people other than school district personnel and media representatives turned out for the public hearing on Oxford School District’s proposed 2014-2015 budget Monday evening.

Board members will vote June 23 on the budget to fund expenditures projected at $35,399,763.30 for the budget year, which starts July 1. The three proposals contain ad valorem tax rate increases from 2 percent to 4 percent.

“Some of these (expenses) are district mandates,” said Super-intendent Brian Harvey, “because our standards here are higher than what we’re funded at.”

Some increases, such as $155,000 extra for utilities, are due to the opening of an additional campus. The new Oxford High School opened in January, and the former high school campus, now under renovation, is scheduled to reopen in August as a seventh- and eighth-grade campus.

It also includes five additional teachers, two additional assistant principals, and six other new positions.

“We have (new positions) at OHS that are necessary for the student population growth that we will have next year, which was the purpose of building the new high school in the first place,” Harvey said.

Under each of the three tax increase proposals, ad valorem taxes would furnish about 51.5 to 52 percent of the budget, and taxes on a $250,000 home would rise about $25 with the 2 percent increase to $50 with the 4 percent hike. Valuations for all the taxable property in the Oxford School District are not yet available for the 2014-15 year, but valuations have increased from $85,857,215 in 1996-97 to $394,732,384 in the budget year now nearing its end – a nearly five-fold increase in the tax base.

errol.castens@journalinc.com