With more than 80 teaching jobs on the chopping block, voters in the Utica City School District head to the polls today to elect school board members and approve or disapprove the budget.

School Board President Christopher Salatino pointed the finger at insufficient state and federal dollars, made worse my by a tax cap and shared funding with a charter school, as the reason. But, based on what the district has to work with, he called it a 'good' budget.

Highlights of Salatino's interview on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning:

  • On the board elections, Salatino said this is a year where incumbents may do well, considering the budget is balanced - despite the position cuts - and the district increased spending by only about one-percent, he said.
  • Regarding charter schools, Salatino said he was ''not a fan''. ''In a district like ours, it hurts us more than helps us...You wanna take your child an isolate him in a charter school, I just don't think its the best place to be,'' Salatino said.
  • On unions backing candidates? ''They have in the past. Personally, the last two times I ran, I said 'Thanks, but no thanks'. We as board members have a direct impact on voting on union negotiations and their contracts...I think its a conflict of interest.''

Chris Salatino on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning segment 1: