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Many taxpayers across New
York State are voting on their respective school district's budget and board of
The biggest budget being
voted on in our area is that of the Utica City School District. Utica's Superintendent
Bruce Karam says it's been a unique process for the 2013- 2014 outlook.
On top of the regular
issues faced by the district, like state aid funding, Mr. Karam tells me they
had other factors that affected the upcoming budget.
And that would be the
federal spending cuts known as sequestration as well as a charter school
forming in the school district.
"Whatever is passed
should be the benefit of the children," said May Wallins of Utica.
Like Wallins, taxpayers
are voting yes or no for the school district's budget proposal today. The UCSD
is looking to have a $138 million budget passed that includes 81 positions cut,
49 of them being teachers.
"It was a way for us- the only
way to balance the budget and by law we need a balanced budget," said Superintendent
The good news this year
the school district has cut down on spending compared to last year. But, a
growing problem, Mr. Karam says is money coming into the district.
"We have three things
going on. Three major things," explained Karam.
And that is the continuing
problem of the lack of state aid funding.
Second, with federal
spending cuts- the district is losing about $700,000 in federal dollars. And
third, the newly formed charter school will be taking away revenue, basically a
"When the student goes
to the charter schools the state aid money that would come to us for the
students will go with the students to the charter schools," said Mr. Karam. And
as a result the school district is losing about $1.8 million in state dollars.
"I think the charter
school will be a real challenge for the school district. I think it won't go
away," said Utica resident, Christine Reister.
And the competition may
continue to be a problem. Mr. Karam says another charter school is expected to
put in an application for the following school year.