By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford Community Schools will receive an extra $589 per pupil in state funding this year. With a count of 6,866 students last year, that translates to just over $4 million extra foundation allowance to the school district’s budget.
“We will definitely look for uses that we foresee coming,” said Sam Barna, assistant superintendent of business and operations. “So, we’ll have to come together as an administrative team and find out if there’s need there – which, there probably will be.”
Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law the 2022 fiscal year state School Aid budget of $17.1 billion including $85.4 million from the state’s general fund. The budget includes $723 million to eliminate the funding gap between districts by setting both the minimum and maximum foundation allowance at $8,700 per pupil. For Oxford, that is an increase of $589 per pupil from last year’s minimum amount of $8,111.
The Oxford School Board already passed its 2021-2022 budget in June, with an estimated per pupil increase of $200. So, the school district will receive $389 more per student, for a total of $2.67 million more than originally budgeted. Those extra funds will go directly into the general fund balance.
Specific uses for those funds would be brought to the board for approval as they come up during the year. “Could be hiring more staff where needed, possibly,” Barna said. “Could be more equipment necessary in the district or if there are some repairs that need to be done that we were putting off, we could maybe make those repairs.
“I can’t think of any of those items in mind, but if there’s an emergency, let’s just say a boiler goes out as an example, this would help mitigate against some of that financial risk by having those additional dollars come through. We don’t plan for things like that, but obviously having that money available would just put out that safety net, if you will.”
As of the beginning of the fiscal year this month, the district’s fund balance sits at $11.28 million. The approved budget includes $76.8 million in revenues and $76.68 million in expenditures. $100,000 of excess revenues will be transferred to the Capital Projects Fund and the remaining $22,100 will be added to the fund balance.