by Terri DiGregorio
School board members discussed administrative costs, debt service and benefits for employees.
“The budget is a work in progress,” said Superintendent of Schools Donna Fountain. “We still don’t have all the numbers from the state, so that makes it difficult.”
Business Administrator Nancy Dingman gave a detailed presentation regarding the increases faced by the district, explaining why the numbers have almost doubled in some areas.
“Many of the additions are not something we have any control over,” Dingman said. “These are requirements which must be met. They are amounts set by the state that we have to meet in order to continue operating our schools.”
One of the largest increases falls under the central data processing costs, which have been outsourced to Oswego County BOCES.
Due to a need for more bandwidth to allow students to simultaneously take state-mandated tests such as the Regents and SATs, all of the computer services are in transition.
Eventually, there will be a savings to justify the doubling of the budget now, but it is an unavoidable cost in today’s competitive education needs.
“Another big cost is for bettering our curriculum,” said Fountain. “Hannibal is in the lowest five percent in New York State in performance. We need to do this. We need a full-time person working on our curriculum development. If this matter is not addressed, we could be looking at being taken over by the state.”
Personnel costs have also increased as well as health benefits offered to employees, but these, too, can be justified by the need to attract quality educators to the school district. Regarding health costs, negotiations with the unions are ongoing to try to decrease the numbers.
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