Utica attorney and school board member Joseph Hobika Jr. was elected Utica School Board president on Tuesday night at the board's organizational meeting. Danielle Padula was elected Vice President.Hobika replaced retiring President and former Utica Mayor Louis LaPolla.

New  board members Tennille Knoop and James Paul were also sworn in following their election victories in May. David Testa was sworn in last month after being appointed by the board following Anthony Lapolla's resignation after it was discovered he lives outside the district.

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Hobika won the leadership position over board member Don Dawes, by a vote of 4-3. Board members Danielle Padula, James Paul, Tennille Knoop and Hobika voted in favor of Hobika's nomination. Board members Don Dawes, Bob Cardillo and David Testa voted in opposition. Padula was unanimously elected as Vice President.

In his first action as president, Hobika spoke of his father, Joseph Hobika Sr., passed away in 2017, also held the position of Board President.

Danielle Padula and Joe Hobika (right to left). Photo screenshot Utica School District live feed
Danielle Padula and Joe Hobika (right to left). Photo screenshot Utica School District live feed

"I take this very seriously," Hobika said in his acceptance speech. "I’m sitting in the very seat that my father sat in 30, 35 years ago.” Hobika promised to add transparency to the Utica School Board of Education. He also thanked the board members who supported him.

“I really appreciate the support I’ve received over the last several years from the parents and the members of the community. I just tried to do what’s best. I didn’t worry about making friend’s. We’re here to do a job," he said. "With that I’m ready to take the reins along with Daniele to do what we need to do to make things better,” he added.

In other business, a rather historic decision was made by the board when they removed the Observer Dispatch as the official newspaper of the Utica School District. The board voted to make the Rome Sentinel the new official newspaper of the district. School districts in New York are required to name an official newspaper, for which official paid notices are posted for public viewing as required by law.

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