The Oxford Board of Education has for the next fiscal year, which would increase its budget by 2.45 percent.
We asked school board Chairwoman Paula Guillet to explain why the board is seeking an increase and how the proposed budget would fulfill the needs of students while keeping the needs of taxpayers in mind.
Here is what she says:
"The Board of Education has worked hard to put forth a reasonable and fiscally responsible budget in this difficult economic climate, while still meeting the educational needs of Oxford's children. We continue to try to find cost savings in all areas and negotiate with bargaining units to control contractual costs, but state mandates, including the Common Core State Standards, the Smarter Balanced Assessments and teacher/administrator evaluations; special education and technology increase the budget. Our increase of 2.45 percent is adequate to meet the growing needs of the district but is still much lower than many if not all our surrounding districts that are faced with the same challenges, and we continue to be one of the most fiscally responsible districts in the state, with our spending ranking 155 out of 169 districts, while offering quality education.
"I don't want to speak for those members who may have felt the increase should have been larger but to answer your question, as chair, I had input during the budget process, and I made my concerns very clear. But ultimately, I am one voting member of the board. At the full board meeting, during the final discussions, no motion to increase or decrease the budget was made by any member. Meeting the needs of the school district while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayer is always challenging and an important aspect of the budget."