Brevard school board may lower graduation requirements

Chemistry, physics could be cut

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A less-stringent path to a high school diploma could be one result if a proposed half-cent sales tax for schools fails to win voter support in November.

School officials said they may consider dropping the requirement to take chemistry and physics, or their equivalent, and reducing the credits needed to graduate, from 26 to the state's minimum of 24, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports.

Local high schools may also cut back from seven periods a day to six, saving millions but limiting opportunity for students to take elective courses.

"I don't see it as necessary," School Board member Amy Kneessy said of the seven-period day. "They're starting the high school credits in middle school, many already have one or two school credits when they reach high school."

A presentation at Tuesday's Brevard School Board meeting on the district's Secondary Schools of National Prominence initiative will open conversations about high school programs that go above and beyond the state's requirements.

"We need to look at everything and see if there's a financial impact and understand the bigger picture," said School Board Chair Karen Henderson, adding that she personally supports keeping the academic offerings the same.

With seven periods, students have "wiggle room" in their schedule — to take extra classes, to retake classes they failed or to take remedial classes, which are required if a low enough score is received on the FCAT.

"We've cut to the bone, now we're talking amputation at the school level," Rockledge High Principal Tony Hines said.

Brevard School Board member Michael Krupp, a former principal, said program cuts could be necessary if the sales tax fails at the ballot. Other school districts offer six periods, he pointed out, and students are still finding ways to succeed.

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