North Syracuse BOE talks honors science, early retirement

The main topic of discussion at the July 26 North Syracuse School District Board of Education meeting was science: the honors science program, science textbooks for K-4 and the science of early retirement.

John Rice, director of Science, Health, Family & Consumer Science, and Technology Education, gave a detailed presentation to the board on the new proposed options for the accelerated/ honors science program in the junior and senior high schools. Rice explained that the current science sequence calls for accelerated student to take accelerated earth science in grade 8, accelerated physics in 9, honors living environment in 10, honors chemistry in 11 and an AP science course of their choice in grade 12.

With the proposed options, students can bypass honors living environment in grade 10, freeing up a year to take an additional AP credit, OR students replace grade 9 honors physics with honors living environment to once again free up a year for more AP credits. The new options would go into effect during the 2011-2012 school year.

Rice also presented the board with the proposed new science textbooks in grades K-4. The board voted to approve the new textbook package, which will cost the district $324,900. This is in addition to the grade 7 and 8 social studies textbooks that were approved during the July 12 meeting.

Another major issue discussed was the early retirement incentive, which is being offered to six unnamed staff members in the North Syracuse Central School District. If all six of the eligible staff members take the early retirement offer, it would save the district $179, 656 over a two-year period.

This would also allow the district to hire a new staff member or bring a laid-off staff member back to the payroll for half the salary of each of the six possibly retiring staff. The six eligible staff must notify the board of their decision by August 4 so new employees may be hired, if necessary.

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