Students at some Utica schools to see a longer school day

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - Some pupils in the Utica City School District will be spending an hour and a half longer in school each day starting in September.

The district is one of nine districts across the state to receive an Extended Learning Time Grant.

The district applied for the grant in October and has now heard that the money came through. Utica School Superintendent Bruce Karam says a planning committee has already been formed to make sure the district is ready to implement the longer school day when schools open in fall. The district was awarded $4.1 million.

Karam says that's only enough to have longer days at five of Utica's 13 schools Those schools are the two middle schools -- Donovan and JFK -- and three of the district's 10 elementary schools -- Kernan, Hughes and Conkling.

"We've selected buildings we believe that could use the extra time right now, according to the feedback that we have gotten from various building principals and looking through the data, analyzing the data," said Karam.

"We're hoping for great things to come out of this as far as increasing student achievement and test scores and reaching the benchmarks that we need to reach," he added.

The Utica Teachers Union released a statement on the issue, stating: "The UTA supports enriched learning experiences for students that focus on improving their academic achievement. As education professionals, we understand the importance of such learning opportunities. We look forward to working together with the district to ensure the success of the project."

The $4.1 million does not include money for any extra teachers to be hired, but instead pays the overtime for those teachers who will be involved in the program. This is a two-year grant and the hope is to see improvement quickly, and if so, possibly expand to all 13 Utica schools in two years.

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