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$45.2M budget to support school district

July 25, 2012 - A $45.2 million budget for the 2012-13 school year was recently approved by the Oxford School Board.

The $3 million increase, explained Tim Loock, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations, is necessary in order "to make Oxford Community Schools the first choice for families that desire the best possible education plus free and full access to fine arts and athletic programs that are second to none."

Against the planned $45 million of expenditures, total revenue for the upcoming school year is expected to be $43.8 million. Revenue is expected to increase by nearly $340,000, with close to $36 million expected from state coffers, $1.85 million coming from the federal level, $4.5 million coming from local taxes, and $1.7 million listed from other sources.

To make up the deficit, Loock expects to use about $1.5 million of the accumulated fund balance, leaving the school with $4.5 million, or 10 percent of the fund balance remaining. This is down from the 12.8 percent maintained through the last year.

Many programs put forward by school administrators won't succeed without the increase, Loock said.

Student enrollment is projected to increase by 250 pupils this fall, continuing the trend from last year. However, per-pupil funding, Mr. Loock indicated, is expected to drop by $61 from last year, down to $139 per pupil.

Oxford's budget will benefit from receipt of a Best Practices Award. For successfully meeting seven of eight state "best practices" standards, the district will collect an additional $52 per student. Loock explained that the recent retirement rate has also earned the district supplemental funding of $87 per student.

An unknown at this time is the fate of so-called pension reforms. Legislators have yet to weigh in, so Loock was uncertain what affect their decision would have on the school budget.

Oxford Athletic programs will account for $830,000 of expected expenditures. The $130,000 in revenue earned by the athletics program last year will be augmented by a $700,000 subsidy from the general fund.

The largest slice of the school budget, at 52 percent of the general fund, will be appropriated for salaries, an increase of over five percent from last year.

The 2012-13 budget also assumes property values will continue to drop, with the estimated loss to Oxford and Lapeer property values to fall by more than $20 million.

The board voted to maintain a 17.9946-mill non-homestead tax rate and a 5.9946-mill rate on commercial personal property rate.

Expenditures for the last year's budget were originally pegged at $42.2 million, yet ultimately cost the school $44.1 million.

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