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Utica School District and teachers' union negotiating

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - In late April, there were no negotiation dates set up, but on Thursday, May 3, the Utica City School District and its teachers' union are talking once again.

The Utica Teachers Association rejected a contract proposal from the district in April. Both sides are resuming negotiations at 3 p.m. Thursday at the district offices. Members of the negotiating teams can't release specifics but at least one member of the district team says she's hopeful.

"Because we are negotiating at this time in order to negotiate with integrity, we can't comment. I'm hopeful at some point it will be resolved," says Lori Eccleston, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for K-12.

Of paramount importance - the teachers coming to an agreement on how to implement teacher evaluations.

Governor Cuomo has tied several million dollars in state aid to the agreement. If the agreement is reached and other concessions made, some of the 144 teachers lost to budget cuts could be replaced. However, time is of the essence.

Schedules must be mailed to students in August, so there would have to be adequate time to re-arrange schedules to accomodate added teachers.

Both sides meet again to negotiate on May 17.

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