Tuesday, November 28, 2023

OSD Proposes 2020-2021 Budget Without Raising School Taxes

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

Despite tough economic challenges brought about from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oxford School District will not be requesting a rise in its millage rate for school taxes for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The Oxford School District’s Board of Trustees reviewed the proposed $60 million budget Monday night during a public meeting.

The current millage is 62.54 and remains the same in the proposed budget presented Monday.

The projected revenues for fiscal year 2020-2021 are 60,593,104 with $19,964,577 (down from $21,836,384 last year) coming from the state, $36,489,342 from local sources and $4,139,184 from federal sources.

The largest share of federal funds is used for school lunches at a cost of $1.3 million with an additional $150,000 for the summer meal program. About $1.1 million in federal funds are for special education and $944,010 for the Title I program.

Most of the local funds, about $29 million, come from ad valorem taxes with an additional $6.5 million from ad valorem-debt service, which goes toward bond repayment only.

The OSD is expected to receive about $17 million from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP, down about $2 million from last year. However, the state has not yet approved its budget. Superintendent Brian Harvey said it’s possible the OSD budget will have to be amended in the fall once the final numbers are released.

The largest expense, $25.6 million, is for teacher salaries. About $3.7 million goes toward instructional support services and $2.3 million on school administration salaries, which did not increase in this year’s proposed budget.

Other projected expenses include $1.3 million for utilities; $611K for property and liability insurance; $1.6 million for furniture and equipment; $537,297 on vehicles and buses and $2.8 million on debt service.

A change in this year’s budget is seen in the need for more electronics and software with some parents opting for online instruction due to COVID-19. Last year, the district budgeted $1.5 million for general supplies and software. In the proposed budget, that number rises to $3.7 million; however, the budgeted amount for books dropped from $390K last year, to $173,894 in the proposed budget.

No new construction projects were added to the proposed 2020-2021 budget.

The Board will vote on the proposed budget at its next regular meeting at 5 p.m. on July 27.