Hannibal Holds Public Meeting on Budget Tonight

Hannibal’s school district administration will present its proposed 2010-2011 budget tonight.

The budget presentation takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium

It’s likely to be a well-attended event.

The district is likely to present a budget that no one will like.  The state is cutting aid to schools by 5% from last year’s level.  The cut will have a very harsh effect on Hannibal and other rural school districts which get most of their money from the state.

Superintendent of Schools Mike DiFabio has said again and again that the district cannot cut enough from its programs to cope with the loss of the state aid.  The tax levy would have to increase 27% to keep everything as they are now.  Cutting sports, music, arts and several academic program would still leave a $600,000 hole, requiring a 10% increase in the tax levy.

The Board of Education challenged employee unions to consider giving up raises scheduled for next year, which would save more than $400,000.  Five of six district unions said they would, if all the unions agreed. The union representing teachers refused, saying their members had already given up enough.

Students have mobilized to try to save their activities.  A group called Save Our Schools has performed community service projects, attended board meetings and lobbied legislators.  Recent board meetings have been well-attended, with many people commenting on aspects of the budget.

Hannibal’s budget will be presented, and adopted by the board, without crucial information.  State aid for schools is not set until the state budget is approved.  The state budget was due on April 1 but is usually late.  School districts must adopt their budgets by mid-April in order to have them ready for voting on May 18, the statewide budget voting day.

While state legislators have said it’s unlikely they will put money back into the budget for schools, they may approve an early-retirement program that will help districts save some money by encouraging the retirement of high-cost veteran staff.

1 Comment

  1. How many students are being served by this budget ? They could probably all go to a good private school for less per student.

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