Oxford schools budget to be detailed in April
● By Steven Hoffman
Under normal circumstances, the Oxford Area School District would have already unveiled a detailed preliminary budget for the next school year. But with the state budget impasse now in its ninth month, the circumstances are anything but typical.
At the March 8 Oxford School Board meeting, the district’s business administrator, Brian Cooney, talked briefly about the preparations on the 2016-2017 budget. Cooney lamented the fact that the district was still dealing with the effects of the budget impasse. Officials from the state’s 500 school districts are attempting to project the state subsidies for the 2016-2017 school year when they don’t even know the level of funding for the current school year.
Cooney told the school board that he recently attended a region-wide and county-wide meeting with other business administrators.
Cooney said that the business office has been working on the expenditure side of the 2016-2017 budget. On March 18, he said, the district will receive the projected insurance costs, which is a big piece of the puzzle.
Cooney said that he would be providing the school board with a detailed look at the 2016-2017 budget at the next work session on April 12.
The district is still working to make it through the current school year without the use of all the state subsidies that it should be receiving from the state. After not receiving any state subsidies for six months because of the budget impasse, Oxford, and other school districts, did receive some state funding at the end of 2015.
Oxford School Board president Richard Orpneck asked Cooney if Oxford was going to make it through the rest of the school year without additional funding.
“We'd be better off if we had the full amount,” Cooney replied. He explained that if no more state funding is made available to the district before the end of the school year, the district will need to do what it did before the state subsidies arrived in December—it will prioritize what bills get paid, and when.
Oxford has been able to avoid having to borrow money to continue its operations during the budget impasse. School districts across the state borrowed an estimated $1 billion before some funding from the state was released.
In advance of the April 12 work session, the district will hold a Finance Committee meeting to discuss the budget on Tuesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. in the administration building.
The school board will adopt a final budget in June.