I am writing this letter to urge the residents of the Hannibal School District to support the upcoming EXCEL Aid capital project being proposed by the District.
These are the facts: For the first time in state history, the local cost of the project is being paid for by the state. Currently our districtÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s building projects are funded by the state at 98%. The additional 2% is usually passed on to the taxpayers. Due to a recent court case against the state, they have put aside funds, through the legal system to pay for this 2% cost on this project, and this project only. Once this project receives a positive vote from our community, these ratios cannot change. Many of the items in this project will need to be addressed in the next few years. Why would you vote this project down and then be stuck paying for repairs out of the general fund later?
An example would be the playground at Fairley School. It is a wonderful playground, designed by the community. Unfortunately it is now 20 years old and does not meet the current safety standards. There are also better materials available for construction and for softer landings if a student falls. Through this project, the playground could be removed and reconstructed at no cost to the community. The school board wants to bring the community in on the design, hoping to incorporate many of the same features of the old playground. The small playground on the other side of Fairley is also included in the project.
In our recent exit poll conducted at our budget vote, we learned that safety of the school buildings is the number one concern of our taxpayers, followed closely by cost to taxpayers. This project will provide secure entryways in all buildings, better surveillance systems, notification of staff in case of major equipment failure, and a generator in each building in the event of a power failure. Kenney will have a larger generator so it can be used as a community shelter in the event of a natural disaster. Furthermore, any remaining windows and doors that were not replaced in the last project will be replaced and all heating systems will be electronically controlled thus providing energy savings. Handicapped accessibility will also be addressed for all venues including the fields bringing us into compliance with ADA regulations. Safety is being addressed along with cost to the taxpayer. Remember there is no local tax impact for this project.
The date for the vote is easy to remember, it is on Election Day, November 4th, in the Boardroom at the High School. The board picked this date so that voters could make one trip to town and do all of their voting. The vote on our project will be from 12:00 pm until 9 pm. You can vote on the school project even if you are not a registered voter. You must be a resident of the district for 30 days, 18 years of age, and a U.S. citizen.
Many of the districts around us in Oswego County already have taken advantage of the EXCEL Aid funding. We are the only local district coming in with a 0% tax impact.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â DonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t shoot yourself in the foot; pass this project.
Concerned Hannibal Resident
[The writer is President of the Hannibal Central School Board of Education]