A group of North Olmsted High School students and their parents are asking the district to help engineer a solution allowing them to keep several Advanced Placement courses.
Several students and parents spoke at Wednesday’s school board meeting asking that the district look for ways to retain the Calculus BC, Physics C and Computer Science AP courses. The group was prompted after receiving notice that the courses might be cancelled next year due to low enrollment.
Students and parent alike said not having the courses would hinder students’ efforts to be admitted to elite universities or certain academic majors such as engineering.
School officials were sympathetic, but said they are having to make hard choices in difficult financial times due to anticipated major cuts in state funding. District Superintendent Cheryl Dubsky said no final decision has been made and that the district is also looking at possible alternatives and other ways to provide the courses. Dubsky and Associate Superintendent Steve Barrett cited low enrollments as a reason they are looking at cancelling several classes to control district costs.
“It’s not just those AP courses,” Dubsky said. “We’re looking at at a number of courses with small numbers across a wide spectrum.”
Sophomore Aravind Kalluri and his father said the students and their families frequently begin planning their courses of study as early as the fifth grade in an attempt to gain entry to the best colleges and degree programs.
“If you look at the current numbers of students signed up to take the courses, then it is higher than the number of students who actually took the course some years and comparable to others,” Kalluri said.
School officials said those numbers sometimes drop when students decide to take the courses when they’re offered to high school students by colleges or through other means.
Senior Gregory Ziegan said passing the courses is a plus when colleges review students’ academic records.
Linda Cleary, who chaired the successful November levy campaign, said keeping AP courses and other programs led to the district receiving the top academic ranking on the state report card the last five years.
Dubsky said the cuts made in Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget, coupled with other previous state funding cuts, put the district into perilous financial territory. The district, like many others, is projected to lose millions of dollars in the next few years.
“We’re being put in the position of making tough financial decisions,” she said.
Dubsky said she has spoken to other districts that are facing the same type of issues. She said joint academic programs and other combined efforts are being discussed as possible ways of dealing with the problems.
Dubsky said the district has not made final decisions on which courses will be canceled. She urged students to get classmates who are eligible to take the courses to sign up as well.
She said the district hopes to have a final answer sometime in May.