Submitted by Hannibal Central School District
HANNIBAL, NY – As voters head to the polls Tuesday to cast a vote in the Presidential Election, the Hannibal Central School District will ask for voter support for the District’s $26.9 million proposed facilities improvement plan.
The plan was developed by combining a 98 percent state reimbursement on capital projects with the district’s Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) Aid to make up the district’s local share.
According to Business Administrator Nancy Henner, support from the voters will allow Hannibal Central to deliver the project with no local cost to district taxpayers.
“Our EXCEL Aid has given us the opportunity to put together a project that will address many of the district’s needs without burdening our taxpayers for the expense,” Henner said.
“Many of the items built into the project focus on health and safety, infrastructure and facility upgrades, technology, energy efficiency and accessibility at all of our buildings,” Henner noted. “They are items that will need to be addressed. The difference is that without this one-time aid source, we would have to ask the taxpayers to pay for them.”
Superintendent Michael DiFabio pointed out that the EXCEL Aid was awarded by the state as money that residents across New York have already paid through state taxes.
“State taxpayers have already paid this money out,” DiFabio noted. “If it didn’t come to Hannibal, it would have been allocated somewhere else.
“Because of the way that this project was crafted, Hannibal students and taxpayers may benefit from our EXCEL Aid allocation even more than others,” he added. “We have been able to maximize the money we received through a pro-active planning strategy.”
Hannibal was awarded $1,298,070 under the state’s EXCEL initiative.
“If we were to use that money by itself, we could address a few items from the capital project list,” DiFabio said. “But the bulk of the project would remain on our ‘to-do’ list. Because so many of the items are need-driven, we would have to find another way to fund a lot of work without this opportunity.”
Under the guidelines for EXCEL spending, at least 75 percent of the allocations to school districts must be committed to projects that fall within five categories, which include education technology, health and safety, accessibility, energy and instructional capacity expansions. Twenty-five percent of the money can be spent on items outside of the five categories to meet additional student needs.
DiFabio pointed out that the bulk of the project has been put together to fit within the five spending areas.
Business administrator Nancy Henner noted that this is the first time the district has been able to use state aid to displace the local costs of a capital project.
With voter approval, the project will be sent first to the State Education Department for approval. Construction would begin in the summer of 2010 and would take approximately a year.
The vote will be held from noon to 9 p.m., in the Board of Education Room at the Hannibal High School.
Any questions about the project can be directed to DiFabio or Henner at 564-7900. Information about the vote and elements of the project are also available on the district Web site at www.hannibalcsd.org.