Utica teachers to vote on contract next week

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica City School District could see the restoration of full-day kindergarten, along with the return of 60 jobs after the teachers' union signed a tentative contract agreement on Wednesday.

However, Utica City School Superintendent Bruce Karam said that the membership still has to ratify the agreement, which includes a wage freeze. Karam says that wage freeze could save the district between $400,000 to $450,000.

The agreement would mean the state would give the Utica School District $3,8 million as part of the new teacher evaluation requirements and that sports programs would not be cut.

The contract goes before members of the teacher's union on Thursday, May 21, and Superintendent Karam says he is optimistic it will pass.

"It's a good contract," Karam said. "It helps the district in a time of need and I'm happy to say the teachers have stepped up on this. It's good for the district, it's good for the teachers, it's good for the students."

Earlier this year, 145 teacher positions were cut to help balance the school budget. Which 60 jobs would be restored if this agreement is ratified are still to be determined.

Karam says the district needs to bring back certain subjects first and then it would be based on seniority.

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