OSD budget includes 4% tax hike

Trustees of Oxford School District adopted a budget on Monday for the 2014-15 fiscal year that includes a four-percent increase in ad valorem tax.

The district will be operating a seven-campus system on an estimated $35.4 million in operating funds, up from 2013-14’s $33.8 million. With debt payments and special programs, the total budget rises to $46.6 million.

Expansion is part of the district’s reality. Assistant Superintendent Bill Hamilton told school board members that the district would have nearly 4,100 students this fall, up from just 3,200 when the planning began for the new high school.

The upper four grades moved in January from the former high school campus on Bramlett Boulevard to the new and larger campus just off Sisk Avenue in the Oxford Commons development. The former OHS building will reopen as Oxford Middle School in August after extensive renovation, housing seventh- and eighth-graders, while the current Oxford Middle School will reopen as Oxford Intermediate School, hosting classes for grades 5 and 6.

Della Davidson Elementary School will open with third- and fourth-graders while first- and second-graders will attend Oxford Elementary School, and both kindergarten and pre-K students will attend Bramlett Elementary School.

Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey said the expansion would be a fiscal challenge.

“Although we haven’t added any additional (personnel) titles at any schools, we have added staff and teachers,” he said. “It is personnel for academics and the successful running of each school.”

Transportation costs will go up not only with the influx of record numbers of students but with the duplication of bus routes. For safety reasons and the concerns of parents, students from pre-K to 6th grade will be on an earlier schedule, with grades 7-12 running later.

The two largest sources of revenue are $18.4 million in local property taxes and $15.4 million from Mississippi Adequate Education Program appropriations, which have only rarely been fully funded by the legislature.

“We would certainly like to receive more in MAEP funding,” Harvey said.

errol.castens@journalinc.com

Twitter: @oxfordcitizenec



About Errol Castens

I'm a news reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal and the Oxford Citizen. Focusing on Oxford and Lafayette County, I've been a part of the L-O-U community since 1991.