Hannibal School District Voters Head Back to the Polls Today

HANNIBAL, NY – Voters in Hannibal will have a second opportunity to weigh in on the district’s proposed $25 million spending plan today.

The original plan was rejected at the polls May 20 when 79 votes tipped the scales to 358 against and 279 in favor.

The Hannibal Board of Education subsequently tweaked the plan, removing a bus purchase from the regular budget lines, moving the money to increase the expenditure for diesel fuel. The bottom line of the plan stayed the same, however, at $25,122,068. The plan represents a 5.21 percent budget-to-budget increase over the current year’s spending.

Hannibal Superintendent Michael DiFabio said that the polls are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. If the plan is rejected again, DiFabio said that the board will have to act quickly to put a budget in place.

“The board would tell me when they want to meet again to adopt a contingency level budget,” he said. “They would have to decide what the level is and what our contingency expenses are.”

DiFabio said that the board would have to go through the budget to decide what expenses would be funded.

“They don’t go line by line,” DiFabio explained. “It is more of a general concept in things like supplies, equipment and contractual items.”

DiFabio said that the board would have to finish that task by June 30.

“We have to have a budget in place by July 1,” he said, noting that is the start of the district’s fiscal year.

The district hosted a public hearing on the spending plan this past week. DiFabio noted that there were some who attended the hearing who had misconceptions about some of the budget information. He said he is hopeful that voters who weigh in today have a solid understanding about the proposed plan.

“It should be a good day,” DiFabio said. “Hopefully everyone will come out and vote.”

DiFabio noted that the number of voters who came to the polls in May represented a small percentage of the eligible voters in Hannibal. He said approximately a third of those who voted in 2005 came to the polls this year.

“In my first year (May 2005), we had 1,810 voters out,” he said. “It was wonderful.”

In May 2006, the number dropped to 880 voters. The number decreased again in May 2007 to 568 voters and increased to 637 voters this past month.

“I expect to see more people at the polls today,” DiFabio said. “A lot of people who said they supported the budget said that they didn’t vote (last month). Hopefully more people will come out.”

Details about Hannibal’s proposed budget can be found on the district’s Web site.