Hannibal District Warns Defeat Of Project Means Taxpayers Will Fund Some Pieces Of It

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HANNIBAL, NY – By a narrow margin, voters in the Hannibal Central School District have defeated the district’s proposed $26.9 million capital project.

“We had 31 votes separating those who were in favor of the project and those opposed,” said District Clerk Lisa Shortslef. At the close of polls, the project was defeated 455-424.

The district worked for approximately two years to develop the project, using $1,298,070 in Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) Aid that was awarded to the district during the 2006-07 state funding cycle. Coupled with a 98 percent reimbursement rate on capital projects, the project would have been delivered with no local cost.

“I am really disappointed in the outcome of the vote,” Superintendent Michael DiFabio said. “We tried to present the information as clearly as we could for over a month to make sure that our voters had all of the information they needed to support this project with confidence. It was very disappointing to see it defeated.”

Because many of the items on the capital project list are required for health, safety and accessibility, DiFabio said that the elements of the project will now have to be reviewed and prioritized.

“We don’t have an option,” DiFabio said. “Many of these upgrades will have to be done. Unfortunately, it seems that the taxpayers will now have to share in the expense of those items.”

The capital project was developed as a facilities improvement plan to address a list of priorities primarily regarding the health and safety of the students and staff, disability-access expansions, energy-saving renovations, and security upgrades in all three school buildings.   “We will look at the list and see what portions of the project can be done in smaller increments,” he added. “Without another option, we will probably have to pay for those needs through the general fund.”