Voters raise concerns at forum for Utica school board candidates

Citizen Action of New York held a forum Tuesday for Utica City School District Board of Education candidates.

Posted: May 8, 2018 11:23 PM
Updated: May 9, 2018 10:20 AM

UTICA - Citizen Action of New York held a forum Tuesday for Utica City School District Board of Education candidates.

Candidates were given an opportunity to share how they plan to improve the school district.

Parents, along with many Utica residents, want change in the school district. All six candidates took the podium and discussed topics from bullying in school, to supporting students with special needs.


Voters were given a platform to ask candidates questions and candidates were given a minute each to address those questions.

Erica Abbott, who has a 5-year-old son in the school district, said that one change she hopes to see in the school district is to have teachers be more open to talking with parents about issues with their children.

"Qualified, qualified, qualified teachers,” Abbott said. “There should be a program or like a separate organization that just focuses on parent advocacy, as Mr. Hobika was discussing earlier. I think if we had like a certain parent-advocacy program, we can encourage more parents to come in and discuss their concerns."

There are three seats available for Utica’s school board.

One candidate is Don Dawes whose term is ending. Along with Don Dawes, the other candidates are Hanka Grabovica, James Paul, Briana Moriarty, Anthony LaPolla, and Joseph Hobika, Jr.

The next forum for the candidates will take place Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Empowerment Center on James Street.

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