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General Brown will not offer physics this school year

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DEXTER — About 50 General Brown Central School District students will have to find another science class by the start of school Tuesday, since they were informed this week that physics will not be offered during the 2013-14 school year after all.

A letter about the matter signed by junior-senior high school Principal Tina M. Heckman was sent home Monday to parents and guardians of those students, and provided a detailed explanation as to why that science section will not be offered. In the letter, the district said it advertised and recruited certified people for the position but had very little luck with advertisements. It also contacted a variety of sources, including colleges throughout the state, and came up dry. Area principals were asked about sharing positions and other schools’ candidate pools were searched to no avail.

“Due to fiscal challenges, one of the positions reduced to half-time for the upcoming school year was a physics teaching position,” Mrs. Heckman said Tuesday. “Due to a resignation, a half-time physics position opened over the summer. Several steps were taken to recruit a certified and qualified physics teacher. Unfortunately, those actions brought forth no qualified and/or certified candidates, and physics will not be offered during the 2013-14 school year at General Brown High School.”

The school district has faced fiscal insolvency by 2015 if finances do not improve. During the 2013-14 budget planning process, the budget was reduced by about $1 million. Many positions were reduced to half time so the district was able to continue offering multiple classes.

Superintendent Cammy J. Morrison said the 50 affected students still will have an opportunity to receive an advanced Regents diploma upon graduation in June, but they will have to register for a different science class. To earn the advanced diploma, she said, students need to have three units of science, and two Regents examinations: one in physical science and one in life science. Living environment, Earth science, chemistry and advanced placement biology still will be offered, along with the non-Regents course of environmental science.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was disappointed because many colleges look for physics on a student’s high school transcript for certain degree programs.

Mrs. Morrison said although the 2013-14 school schedule is being built around physics not being offered, the district won’t give up in its search.

“Certainly, if someone all of a sudden decides they are interested or someone’s out there, we might be able to offer it,” she said. “We will continue to look.”

Two people applied for the half-time position, and one person was offered the job, but then declined it.

Parents and guardians are being encouraged to contact either Mrs. Heckman or their child’s guidance counselor about the issue by calling the main district telephone number, 779-2300.

Meanwhile, the junior-senior high school’s physics/calculus club that was established in the 2012-13 school year will continue, as calculus still is being offered.

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