Restored Hannibal Sports Bring Back Discussion of What Was Not Restored

A vote to bring back JV sports for the winter season in the Hannibal school district caused a discussion of what was not brought back at a recent Board of Education meeting.

On the recommendation of interim Superintendent of Schools Pete Backus, the board voted to restore JV-level boys and girls basketball, girls volleyball and wrestling.  The vote was 4-2, with one abstention.

Backus explained that the sports are being restored with a portion of an expected grant of state pork barrel funds from State Sen. Patty Ritchie.

Backus explained after the meeting that he had met Ritchie during her recent public visit to Hannibal.  Her offer to find the money came from that meeting.

He said that the money would also be used to fund an academic extracurricular program that was cut from the current budget, the school’s participation in the annual Oswego County Academic Youth League.  Teams of students from each county school meet once a month to compete in completing a project that ties together several academic disciplines.

Ritchie’s promised grant is only $30,000, Backus explained, “not enough money to restore a teacher.”

“It’s just frustrating because there were cuts made, and to me, academics are foremost,” said board member Donna Ingersoll.

“There are other programs that have been cut in this district that can be restored for a fraction of that money,” said board member Madeline Pittorf, who mentioned the lost marching band program.

It’s embarrassing for the school and community, she said, because the annual fire department field days parade no longer has a school band to lead it.

Later, after the vote, one parent asked Backus how he made the decision of which programs to restore.  “Marching band is just as important as sports,” said Darleen Malone, whose daughter had spoken to the board earlier in the evening to ask for approval of the senior band trip. “Nobody seems to be interested in the music program in this school.”