OXFORD – Oxford taxpayers will face an estimated 1.99 tax levy hike based on the tentative budget adopted by the school board Monday. The proposed spending plan, which voters will be asked to approve on May 17, totals $16,935,666. According to Superintendent Randy Squier, that figure represents a $87,354, or .51 percent, decrease in spending over the current year’s budget.
“I am optimistic the community will understand this budget proposal to be responsible, and a good faith effort to balance the needs of our students with the what our community can afford to support,” Squier said.
Oxford, like all districts across New York, is facing steep reductions in state aid in the coming year, while at the same time seeing pension contributions and employee benefit related expenses climb.
“We are faced with a loss of aid totaling $411,000,” the administrator reported. Coupled with an anticipated $380,000 increase in retirement system contributions and a $148,000 jump in health care premiums, the district started this year’s budget process with a $939,000 gap.
That gap doesn’t include any salary increases. As it started its budget planning, the district had open contracts with all three of its collective bargaining units. According to Squier, agreements have now been reached with two of the three – the Oxford Teacher’s Association and the administrator’s union. Details of the contracts have not yet been released.