Oxford School Board approves proposed final budget
● By Steven Hoffman
The Oxford School Board unanimously approved the proposed final budget totaling $70,539,523 for the 2019-2020 school year at its meeting on April 16.
School board member Robert Tenga, who chairs the school district’s Budget and Finance Committee, said that the proposed expenditures are increasing by about $1.27 million over the current fiscal year. As a result, Tenga said, a one-percent tax increase is still under consideration for 2019-2020.
“We still have to decide on that,” Tenga said.
The millage rate for the current year stands at 31.1484 mills. The millage rate would increase to 31.4599 mills for 2019-2020, if the budget were approved with a one-percent tax increase.
A tax increase of one percent would equate to a $39 increase in the tax bill for the average taxpayer in the district.
Work on the spending plan will continue until a final budget for the 2019-2020 school year is adopted next month.
In other business at the April 16 meeting, superintendent David Woods talked about the school district’s ongoing efforts to establish a Navy National Defense Cadet Corps unit at the high school. The school district has been exploring the possibility of a partnership with the U.S. Department of the Navy for nearly two years, and the program would not be started before July 1, 2020.
Should the school district introduce a Navy National Defense Cadet Corps unit, at least one instructor with a background in the Navy would need to be brought on board to lead the program, Woods said. Before that, the district will need to evaluate the level of interest among students for the program. The district will also look into curriculum and staffing requirements, and the potential impact they could have on the budget before moving forward with the partnership.
Woods said that establishing a Navy National Defense Cadet unit remains on his list of goals for another year.
School board member Jenifer Warren asked about whether there is a minimum number or a maximum number of students who would need to participate.
Woods replied that while he didn’t think there was a specific minimum number or maximum number of students, the district would want to get as many students as possible involved. The program must still be approved by the Department of the Navy if the school district decides to establish the program.
Oxford Area High School athletic director Michael Price and principal James Canaday led a presentation recognizing four outstanding student-athletes at the school who qualified for PIAA state competitions in their respective sports—Taj Lanier, Bruce Trimmer, Sam Blevins, and Michael Faxio.
Lanier is a sophomore who is a standout in girls' cross country. She earned First-Team All-League honors and finished in 14th place at districts on her way to earning a berth in the state championship meet.
Trimmer, qualified for the PIAA boys’ cross-country state championships.
Blevins qualified for states as a wrestler, competing in the heavyweight division. Blevins captured the Ches-Mont League and District 1 championships in his weight class, and was also a standout on the football field, where he also earned numerous honors. He will be a participant in the Valor Bowl football game next month.
Fazio, a senior, is a three-time state qualifier who also has earned three medals during his high school career. Fazio will be attending Towson University in the fall, and will be leaving Oxford Area High School as the holder of five school records—in the 50-, 100- and 200 freestyle events, the 100 backstroke and the 200 individual medley.
The ninth annual Eli’s Run to benefit the Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation is set for Saturday, May 4. The run will be held at Oxford Area High School’s cross country course, and is a rain-or-shine event. The one-mile fun run will begin at 9 a.m. and the 5k run/walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. More information, including registration details, can be found on the school district’s website.
The Oxford School Board will hold its next work session on Tuesday, May 14 and its next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 28. The regular meeting was rescheduled from May 21 because that date coincides with the Primary Election. Both meetings take place at 7 p.m. at the Administration Building.