utica city school district

Ed and Eddie / Flickr

New York state is sitting on a more than $5 billion budget windfall that it received from several recent bank settlements, but has yet to decide what to do with that money. One Mohawk Valley assemblyman says some should be used to end the state's Gap Elimination Adjustment for school districts.

Since his election in the fall of 2011, Utica-area Democrat Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi has thrown his weight behind promoting education.

Ed and Eddie / Flickr

The Utica City School District's Board of Education unanimously rejected $4.1 million in state funding to extend the school day in five city schools.

The grant would have allowed the the school district to increase classroom time by 25 percent. An additional hour and a half would have been tacked onto the end of the school day from Monday through Thursday, and summer classes would have been added. District officials hoped extra learning time would raise Common Core test scores.

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Students in the Utica City School District headed back to the classroom Thursday. In recent years, the city's school district has made several decisions to help close budget gaps, including cutting about 200 staff positions. The result has been an incremental increase of the number of students in each classroom, which has now reached an all-time high.

xMizLitx / Flickr

The Utica City School District is delaying a plan to make the school day longer in order to gather more input from teachers, parents and students.

The district was supposed to extend the school day in five schools this fall, stretching the average student's day by about 25 percent. But Superintendent Bruce Karam says the district only had about seven weeks to come up with a plan and needed more time.

Katie Keier / Flickr

The Utica City School District received more than $4 million from the state to increase the number of hours kids are in school during the year, in an effort to increase the district's Common Core test scores. But the district still has to make a lot of decisions before starting the program.

Nine school districts in New York state were named as grant recipients, with Utica receiving the second biggest portion of the $24 million earmarked for the Extended Learning Time Initiative.

Charter school application sparks debate in Utica

May 8, 2014
James F Clay / Flickr

Concern is once again rising in the cash-strapped Utica City School District as the state mulls over the possibility of allowing another charter school to open.

A group led by Christina Johnson, an educator and local resident, applied to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute earlier this year to establish the Mohawk Valley Community Charter School within the Utica School District to serve elementary-aged children.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

For the fourth straight year, the Utica City School District is facing a deficit, causing the school board to consider layoffs. School Business Official Maureen Albanese says right now the district, which is among the state's poorest, is having trouble balancing its nearly $146 million budget.

"We had a $3.8 million deficit in the general fund, and we're looking at a $2.6 [million] deficit in our federal grants, which brought our total budget deficit to $6.4 million," Albanese said.

School officials throughout New York state weren't surprised when students taking this year's Common Core exams received low test scores. But most school board members are optimistic that next year's results will be better. A recent poll by the New York State School Board Association reports about two-thirds of school board members expect their district's students to improve next year. Only 12 percent say they don't expect better results.