Hannibal School Board Begins Budget Discussions Tonight

Hannibal’s Board of Education begins its work towards the next school budget with a meeting Thursday evening.

The special meeting to start the review of the 2011-12 budget begins at 6:30 p.m. in the high school’s distance learning laboratory.

District officials and board members are bracing for another year of severe cuts in state aid, which will force cuts in jobs and programs.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signaled in recent weeks that cuts in education aid will be among his proposals when he reveals his budget next Tuesday.

The state will need to close a budget deficit of between $10 and $11 billion, and programs that used to be sacred cows of Albany spending, such as education aid, are coming in for cuts.

Former Governor David Paterson imposed an across-the-board 5% cut in education aid last year to cope with the $9 billion deficit in that budget.

Experts said the cuts hurt districts like Hannibal, which gets most of its money from state aid, significantly more than districts with high property wealth.