Oxford School Board approves final budget of $63.3 million
● By Steven Hoffman
The Oxford School Board voted unanimously to approve a final budget for 2015-2016 at its June 16 meeting.
The spending plan of $63,393,880 necessitates a one-percent tax increase. The millage rate will increase by .3023 mills, from 30.2324 mills to 30.5347 mills. That equates to a $39 increase for the homeowner of a property with the average residential assessment of $130,318.
The final budget is approximately $600,000 less than the preliminary budget that the board adopted five months ago. In the last five years, Oxford has had two years—2011-2012 and 2013-2014—without a tax increase. There was a 1.70 percent increase in 2012-2013 and .61 percent increase in 2014-2015.
School districts across the state are adopting their budgets without the benefit of having a clear picture of state funding. Gov. Tom Wolf proposed significant increases in education funding in March, but it’s unlikely that those increases will be included in the final state budget. School board member Richard Orpneck said that the proposed state budget hasn’t garnered sufficient support from state lawmakers from either party. When Oxford officials were preparing the budget, they did not factor in significant state funding increases.
In her report to the school board, Dr. Margaret Billings-Jones, the assistant superintendent, recognized some of the staff members who served on the 2014-2015 curriculum review cycle committee, including Kristina Spano, Nick Spano, Matt Messick, Kasey Lombardo, Jan Lasak, Dana Meade, John Barcus, Peggy Logue, Laura Stoltzfus, Melody Hostetter, Carie Michael, Kathleen Conway, and Jessica Foster.
Oxford is expanding the summer academies available to students this year. The popular art and music academies are returning, and there will also be math, STEM, fitness, and young authors academies, as well as Title I and Title III offerings.
“There has been a tremendous response to our academies,” Billings-Jones said, noting that the Art Academy is already full, and many parents were calling about the other academies that will be open to students.
The school district has formalized an agreement with Lincoln University, which is sponsoring nursing education, whereby students can gain monitored clinical experience in their area of study.
Principal Dr. Nicole Addis made a report to the school board about the successful launch of the Hopewell School’s Early Act Club, which is a service organization for elementary students.
The school board honored some longtime employees who are retiring from the district, including Valerie Beimfohr (30 years); Stephen Gregg (16 years); Cynthia Louth (37 years); Joy Withiam (36 years); Denise Clarke (15 years); Elizabeth Measures (17 years); and Gary Opperman (8 years).
School board member Joseph Tighe was selected to serve as the board’s treasurer for the next fiscal year. Additionally, the board approved the appointment of Rinaldi and Poveromo, P.C. as the district’s solicitor during that same time period.
The school board will meet again on Tuesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. in the administration building.