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Utica School Board passes $134 million budget

By By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Members of the Utica School Board have voted to approve a $134 million budget for the 2010-2011 school year.

Board members voted down the previous proposal on Tuesday.

Board members gathered at the Conkling Administration Building on Mohawk Street around 5 p.m. for an emergency session on the Utica School budget, voting to approve the budget. They were working down to the wire, because Friday is the budget deadline.

Several board members found two points in the previous budget that they couldn't vote in favor of Wednesday night - an almost two percent tax increase, and cuts to 17 positions - 12 teaching positions, 3 administrative positions, and 2 staff positions.

The budget passed Thursday night with a 4-2 vote.

The budget goes up for vote by the public on May 18.

Board member Christopher Salatino said that the contingency budget plan would have included a tax hike that is higher than the almost two percent increase in the current plan. He also said it could have affected some existing contracts.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, Salatino said that while he wants to see a zero percent tax increase, he hoped the budget would pass, because he said the board can always make changes to the line items in the budget in the future.

The budget numbers did not change at all from Wednesday to Thursday night, but the votes did. School Board President Barbra Klein was one of those members who changed their vote to a "yes" on Thursday.

Klein said that not to have a budget would mean the superintendent's budget would've gone into place, or the contingency budget would've had to go into effect - all options she and others were not happy with.

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