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Utica School Budget Update: Board hoping for teacher negotiations

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Despite over 200 jobs on the line, it was business as usual at Utica's School Board meeting Tuesday, the district still in negotiations with the teachers union to restore some of the many jobs and programs next year's budget cut.

"At this point what the district has done is we've sent a memorandum of agreement to the union with respect to the APPR and hopefully they'll adopt the APPR, then we can restore some jobs," says School Board President Christopher Salatino.

Salatino says while the board is still awaiting contract negotiations with the city's teachers, they're keeping that separate, the focus now on getting teachers to agree to Governor Cuomo's teacher evaluation guidelines, what would bring $3.8 million back to the district.

Tuesday newly elected Michele Mandia was also sworn into office, taking the seat of former board member Anthony Brindisi for the remaining two years of his term. The Utica School Board's other two winners were incumbents Louis LaPolla and Christopher Salatino. Newly elected and returning board members hopeful some of the districts funds will be restored in the future.

"One thing the state does understand is the uniqueness of our district," says Salatino. "And they're actually starting to come around so we're hoping we'll see some additional funding next year but there is no additional funding this year it is what it is."

The school board is not only hoping teacher negotiations happen, but also happen soon. School Superintendent Bruce Karam says a majority of next year's scheduling needs to be done by the end of June.

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