Utica City School District Lays Off 95 Employees

By Mary Wilson | marwilson@wutr.tv

Published 03/26 2014 06:36PM

Updated 03/26 2014 06:50PM

Nearly 100 people who work for the Utica City School District were laid off today. This comes after the board of education unanimously passed its 2014- 2015 budget last night. 7-million-dollars had to be slashed to balance the 142-million-dollar budget. This massive deficit has been caused by several factors: superintendent Bruce Karam says the big one is insufficient state and federal aid. Without more aid, those 95 people including 50 teachers won't get their jobs back. February 4th--the preliminary budget was proposed with the understanding that major cuts would have to be made if the district wasn't given more state aid--so far it hasn't been.
"The state has not fixed the funding formula from Albany and that needs to happen. We have charter schools that are taking valuable state aid from us we had the federal sequestration last year that cut our federal entitlements," said Karam.
Since then, several calls to action. Rallies.
"Education in Utica is a very important issue and it's got to be dealt with, you know they can't put this on the back burner any longer," said Proctor High School student Trinh Truong. 
Trips to Albany.
"Students are going to be sharing with Governor Cuomo why they need to why he needs to prioritize schools," said Liz Moran of the Alliance for Quality Education.
And last night the board unanimously approved a 142-million dollar budget--with 7 million dollars worth of cuts. And spent today laying off about one hundred people.
"It was terrible, it was horrible we don't want to lay anybody off it's one of the most unpleasant things anyone has to do," said Karam.
The bottom line--less teachers means larger class sizes with less supplies to cover a growing population.
"We have one computer lab in our school that doesn't even have sufficient amount of computers for one class," said Truong.
This budget will go to a public vote at the end of May and it's still subject to change depending on the state budget.

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