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Money from Mayor's Charity ball helps restore field trips in Utica City School District

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Tough decisions in Albany forced even tougher decisions on local school districts.

Budget cuts forced the Utica City School District to eliminate the Arts in Education line item from the their budget. That meant the end of one of the school benefits kids enjoy the most - field trips.

"We would go to the Red Room to see an art exhibit we would work with Munson Williams so some of those things were eliminated," says Carmela Brown, Director of Fine Arts for the district.

Students weren't happy about the loss, so they wrote letters, some of which found their way to Utica Mayor David Roefaro's desk. The mayor met with students at Jones Elementary School in South Utica on Tuesday to share the news: money raised from the 2011 Mayor's Charity Ball would be used to restore the Arts in Education line item to the Utica City School District Budget.

Students applauded, and so did Brown, who was quick to point out that art and music teach kids much more than how to play an instrument or paint a picture.

"It helps them in all areas," Brown said. "It helps them with all different forms of thinking. We have so many children who learn through their musical side. Some children who are innately very, very shy - this brings out their in-borne talent."

The mayor is hoping the 2011 charity ball will raise roughly $108,000 for the school district.

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