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Board Of Education Votes To Cut 217 Jobs

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Utica, NY (WIBX) – Exactly 217 jobs are on the line, following a budget vote by the Utica City School District Board of Education. And, about 100 of the proposed job cuts are teaching jobs. Board President, Chris Salatino, says it’s because the district is facing a 10.79 million dollar budget gap. He says if state leaders release foundation aid, and if the principal and teacher’s union agree to a one-year pay freeze, including adopting the teacher evaluation plan, (Annual Professional Performance Review) set by the Cuomo administration, about 80 of the jobs currently on the chopping block, can be saved.

Salatino said, ”We’ve been very open about this process throughout the past year until now about where we were headed, I mean I don’t think it was any secret or a surprise of what our budget was going to be like this year, or that there were going to be job cuts because we’ve been talking about it for probably the past six-months. We knew this was coming and I think a lot of people did as well.”

Superintendent of Schools, Bruce J. Karam, says it’s the state’s fault for not releasing foundation aid and says the permanent solution to the funding problem, is to change the state aid formula. “And, taking into consideration growing enrollments in high need districts–that is the long term solution. These other things we’re doing will help us get through the year but the permanent solution to this is the state aid formula’s being changed. This is the state’s fault we’re in this problem. Because we have cut everything we could possibly cut, and there’s nothing more left to cut,” Karam said.

Salatino says earlier this year, a law suit to force the state to release about 40-million dollars of aid that’s owed to the district was revived in an effort to deal with the funding woes the school district is facing. The Fiscal Equity Lawsuit is being handled by The Biggerstaff Law Firm. Karam said, “The purpose of that is for fair share in funding for high needs school districts. So, yes, we’re hoping that when that goes through that will come out favorable and fix the problem, but like with any lawsuits it’s got to go through the wheels, it’s got to crunch through the system and it’s going to take time.” In the meantime, pink slips are being prepared to be sent out to those affected by the cuts.

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