Submitted by Hannibal Central School District
HANNIBAL, NY – The Hannibal Board of Education has announced its inability to support Oswego County BOCES’ proposed $48.4 million capital project.
Residents in the BOCES region will vote on the proposed plan Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 13 polling places around the county.
During its recent meeting, the Hannibal board unanimously agreed that it cannot support the plan as proposed.
“Hannibal supports the need for a new BOCES facility and supports BOCES, but at this time, we can’t support the funding mechanism that will be used for this project,” Hannibal Board of Education president Donna Blake said.
Blake explained that the project is slated to be funded through the Dormitory Authority and will appear as an expense line in the administrative budget line in school districts around the county.
“If the district was forced to go to a contingency budget, we would be unable to afford our administrative budget if this project is approved,” Blake said. “To approve a plan that threatens our ability to sustain our administrative budget is not fiscally responsible.”
In public meetings held around the county, BOCES Superintendent Joseph Camerino has explained that the project focuses on improvements and renovations to enhance safety, security and technology at the BOCES campus. It comes in with a $48,431,799 price tag.
The local share of the project is set to be divided among the nine county school districts that are included in the Oswego County BOCES region. Camerino has explained that BOCES will continue to investigate options to bring the local share down.
“Our board is aware that BOCES is working with state legislators in an effort to pass legislation that would relieve the funding burden for our districts,” Blake said. “But that legislation is not going to be in place before the vote. It would not be responsible of us to take it on faith that it will happen.”
Blake stressed that the board is not debating the need for upgrades at BOCES and noted that many of Hannibal Central School District’s students utilize BOCES programming.
“We totally support the BOCES concept,” she said. “But we cannot support the funding mechanism for this project.”