We want your news! Send us: News release |Letter to the Editor | Share a picture | Newborn | Birthday | Engagement | Wedding | Other Milestone
Today









What is this?

Hannibal Students Take Budget Protest To Sandy Creek, Meet With Legislators

Aubertine and State Assemblyman Will Barclay prepare to end the meeting.

Aubertine and State Assemblyman Will Barclay prepare to end the meeting.

You could call it a civics lesson field trip.

Early Saturday morning, students from Hannibal High School’s Save Our School group sat in a cafeteria at Sandy Creek Central School, waiting to meet their state legislators.

The occasion was a breakfast meeting between school district officials from around the county and some of the state lawmakers who represent them. The students were not invited, but showed up to seize the opportunity to lobby directly for help to keep their sports, music and arts.

Hannibal faces a severe problem. The loss of 5% of its state aid, along with planned increases in salaries, expenses and state-mandated retirement fund contributions, has blown a $1.7 million hole in its approximately $25 million budget.

District officials have said that the district could cut all non-required spending and still only fill about half of the deficit. The cuts would include all sports, music and arts.

“Smile and tell him what you want to tell him,” was the advice of Superintendent Mike DiFabio to the students about the impending arrival of State Senator Darrel Aubertine.

The students sat in two rows at lunch tables, each wearing a white T-shirt bearing the SOS logo and message.

Aubertine arrived moments later and the group’s leaders rose to greet him. They gave him one of their T-shirts and a packet of letters from people upset about the possible loss of extracurricular activities.

“They’re about to cut all our arts, music and sports,” said student Zach Welling. “It’s all our community has and it keeps us in school.”

“It’s not law yet,” said Aubertine about the Governor’s proposed cuts.

He explained to the students that wealthy downstate districts get as little as 5% of their revenue from state aid, while Hannibal receives 80% of its income from state aid. He said the Governor decided to cut 5% of state aid from all districts as a way of being fair about the cuts, but “5% of 80% is a whole lot more than 5% of 5%.”

“We feel for decades we’ve been getting the short end of the stick,” he said.

“Kids are going to be going to school just for the basics,” said one student. “We need a lot more to succeed,” said another.

Referring again to the struggle with downstate political interested, Aubertine answered, “They are cutting programs of want. We are cutting programs of need.”

Aubertine said that he would be spending the weekend in Albany working on the budget. His plan: Find money in the budget for projects that he feels can wait another year or two and move that money to education funding or other areas.

He said there were at least two possibilities. Selling some rarely-used power plants owned by the state Power Authority and delaying construction of a statewide data center could provide funds.

State Assemblyman Will Barclay joined the meeting at this point. “My hope is to get some restoration aid in (the budget) for low wealth school districts,” he said. “We want to make sure it’s driven to the schools.”

When the 20 minute meeting ended, students came up and shook the lawmakers’ hands.

Sandy Creek Superintendent Stewart Amell stopped by to see the students off. “Be optimistic and keep fighting,” he advised, as he sent a tray full of donuts to the students to eat on the bus ride home.

Print This Post Print This Post

3 thoughts on “Hannibal Students Take Budget Protest To Sandy Creek, Meet With Legislators

  1. Unti the Hannbial school board wakes up this is going to continue. You can raise taxes 1 or 2% and then given teachers a 3.5% pay increase over four years. Wake up!!!! You have to riase taxes enough to pay for the raises.

  2. School board petitions should be picked up soon. If the school board can’t seem to do things right, then you should run for a seat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Search Our Archives:

Judge Todd to Defendant: Teen’s Confession Admissable

A confession allegedly made to state police by one of the teenagers accused of robbing and killing a Granby man can be used as evidence in a jury trial. In his decision, Judge Donald Todd said, “The court finds the defendant made his statements voluntarily and they were obtained in a manner that did not violate his state or federal constitutional rights.”

Continue reading


Beverly A. McKalsen, 87

Beverly A. McKalsen, 87, of Granby, passed away early Thursday morning July 31, 2014, at home with her family by her side.

Continue reading


Oswego County Postpones Aerial Spraying Tonight

Aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor / Big Bay Swamp area near the north shore of Oneida Lake is postponed tonight, Thursday, July 31, due to uncertain weather. The forecast indicates varied conditions, such as rain and wind speeds, that would hamper spraying efforts. Weather permitting, aerial spraying will take place tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 1 between 6 and 9 p.m.

Continue reading


DA: No Evidence Of Human Remains At Rice Road Site

The Oswego County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office have concluded their investigation at the property on Rice Road in the Town Of Mexico. While there was no reliable evidence indicating the property was related to the abduction of Heidi Allen, we conducted a thorough and exhaustive search of the property, the district attorney said. The Sheriff’s Department devoted considerable resources to this search and made every effort to discover and recover any remains that may have been there. There is no evidence that any human remains are or ever were at that site.

Continue reading


Award-winning Play Comes to Fort Ontario for One Performance Only

Bring the whole family to Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego, for a performance of “The Great Rope,” the award-winning play written by the late Rosemary Nesbitt of Oswego. The one-time-only show begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday. “We’ve put together a great group of children and adults from the community to help us bring this play to life again and honor Rosemary’s vision,” said director Jonel Langenfeld Rial, professor of theater and education in the SUNY Oswego Theater Department.

Continue reading



v3_2014_64