UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Utica City School District will hold public comment meetings over the next few weeks to present information on the upcoming referendum vote on December 7th to build a Career and Technical Education (CTE) wing onto Thomas R. Proctor High School.

“We’ve been talking with students over the last several years and parents how they would love the program to return to the Utica City School District and be on campus at proctor high school,” said Utica City School District Superintendent, Bruce Karam.

If the vote passes, the new CTE wing will be completed in September 2024 and will offer a variety of programs focused on preparing students for employment, careers, or post-secondary education through the development of 21st-century skills. When it comes to the cost of the new addition, it will not cause a tax increase to the property owner.

“We have a very high building aid reimbursement from the state that will pay for most of the project and then the rest of it will be funded by the retirement of other bonds that could be changed over or any additional aid that we can receive,” said Karam.

Right now, students who want to participate in a CTE program have to take a half-hour bus ride to the BOCES, which Karam says has decreased participation. In a statement, BOCES District Superintendent Doctor Patricia Kilburn said that while this decision impacts the organization, we understand the rationale for this decision, and the transition period that we have to make necessary adjustments and I remain optimistic in regards to what we will be able to offer to the other 11 component districts. Karam hopes that having this program at proctor will increase student participation.

“We need to make sure we increase the graduation rate and get them trained so when they graduate the will have the skills to you know start a trades career,” said Karam