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No tax increase expected in proposed Utica school district budget

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 3/29/23

The proposed 2023-2024 budget for the Utica City School District is expected to be presented to the voters with no tax increase.

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No tax increase expected in proposed Utica school district budget


UTICA — The proposed 2023-2024 budget for the Utica City School District is expected to be presented to the voters with no tax increase, Acting Superintendent Brian Nolan said Tuesday at the regular monthly Board of Education meeting.

The official presentation of the proposed budget to the board will be at a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 in the boardroom of the school district office, 929 York St.

Special student guests

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board welcomed Navy Junior ROTC cadets to present colors and discuss their program at Proctor High School. Athletes from the varsity boys indoor track team and their Head Coach Jerry Tine also told the board about some of their successes and Key Club members and their co-advisor Amy Barok described their own outreach.

Tine said team member Hector Perez recently competed in the New York State Public Schools Athletic Association Track and Field Championships in Staten Island.

“He set his personal best and that’s all we ever ask for from anybody,” Tine said, adding Perez improved his standing between his arrival at the championships to their finish.

This season in indoor track, the team won eight out of 10 events on the track; 12 boys won a Tri-Valley League championship and two boys won three TVL championships each, Tine said.

But even more impressive, more half of the team members are scholar-athletes, he added.

“I’d like to give them a hand for what they do in the classroom,” he said, leading the audience in a round of applause. “That’s a pretty impressive stat. Coach Monroe and I are blessed with some great talent, better people and that comes as a testament to their family, and their friends and what they want out of this program.”

Key Club President Reagan Pham and Secretary Reesta Tamang addressed the board, with Tamang explaining the Key Club has been a part of the Proctor community for more than 50 years.

“Our objectives are to build a better community in and out of school,” Tamang told the board.

Pham described their Cinderella’s Closet outreach, where they provide prom dresses and accessories for students in need. Their March 5 open house was an amazing success, Pham said, with more than 60 students coming in and another 20-25 served over the last few weeks as well.

They are always collecting dresses, jewelry, handbags and shoes, and he thanked the board for their support.

“As someone who came out of poverty, it genuinely means a lot to me that you guys are willing to put in so much effort in order to help kids who may be struggling with finding dresses for this year’s prom and genuinely making their year,” he said.

Board Vice President Danielle Padula said helping at Cinderella’s Closet was a life-changing experience.

“Thank you for allowing us to make this a priority and keeping us up to date,” Padula said. “You should all be proud of yourselves.”

Reflections on state of district

The board also heard a New York State accountability update from Shawna Fleck, the district’s director of testing and planning and Andre Paradis, its chief accountability officer, as well as an update from career and technical education director Erica Schoff.

Board president Joseph Hobika Jr. said he “couldn’t feel better about the state that the district is in at the present time.”

“I feel like we have a lot of highly professional, highly proficient people working for the benefit of the students,” Hobika said. “That’s been my goal so I’m glad that things are working out.”

“I am pleased every morning to come to work and work with an incredible staff,” Nolan added.

Next meeting

Following the April 18 special meeting, the next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be Tuesday, April 25 with executive session at 5 p.m., public commentary at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend all except the executive session.


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