The Utica City School District has kicked the deadline back for the teachers union to agree to a multi-million dollar evaluations deal. The deal could save 100 jobs and about $10 million for the district. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us how the school board is now putting the issue into voters' hands.
UTICA, N.Y. -- The Utica City School District budget passage Tuesday night left a lot riding on the state's new school evaluations program, or APPR - $10 million.
The teachers' union and the district need to come to terms to receive funds that includes $3.8 million for district salaries.
Without the money, the superintendent will face some unpleasant decisions.
"Nobody's happy with the budget, nobody is. I mean, any time you have to lay off 217 people, who would be happy with that?" asked UCSD Superintendent Bruce Karam before a school board meeting Tuesday.
After the Administrators' Association approved a similar agreement, Tuesday's budget leaves it all up to the teachers' union and a public vote in May.
The measure the public is voting on will allow the district to use that $10 million if and when it comes in.
"We added the $3.8 million in hopes that at least the APPR will be funded, and if not, then the cuts will continue and things will move forward accordingly," UCSD Board of Education President Christopher Salatino said.
The Utica Teachers Association has not commented on their issues with the plans, but district officials say they need an agreement by July to do anything about the jobs.
"If we do get the concessions from the Utica Teacher's association then, yes we can reinstate jobs," Salatino said.
But some of the cuts will have to happen regardless.
"Any way you look at this and any way it shakes out, there's going to be cuts. Because the budget deficit is so huge," Karam said.
The Utica Teachers' Association's current negotiations could change the vote by Friday, but district officials say that it doesn't appear likely.
The Utica City School District's public budget vote, along with elections, will be held May 15th.
State officials say if the budget fails altogether, the district could lose even more state funding.