Hauppauge residents attended Tuesday’s Board of Education searching for guidance on the future direction of the district’s academics.
Hauppauge Board of Education members faces a multitude of questions from residents who received an anonymous flier emblazoned with district’s logo that spoke against the school’s two-year application to the International Baccalaureate program.
The flyer distributed primarily in the Pines Elementary School section of district included claims that the IB program would cost Hauppauge Union-Free School District thousands of dollars each year and class credits would only be accepted at European universities. It also cited “hidden agendas and under the table deals are notorious in our district.”
“I am extremely proud of this community. I do not see a room of people here screaming at us because they are upset about this flyer. There is a difference between rumor and research,” said Trustee Susan Hodosky.
Despite a Question-and-Answer response letter by Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss, concerns lingered on the program’s academic quality in comparison to the more widely known Advanced Placement system and its costs.
Board President Ann Macaluso said district trustees have been investigating switching to the IB program as far back as 2003, researching and meeting with other Long Island high schools. Others with the IB program include nearby Northport, Commack and West Islip in addition to Locust Valley, Long Beach, Rockville Centre and Bay Shore.
The IB program would offer a two-year interdisciplinary study of six core subjects: English, a foreign language, science, math, social students and the arts. To receive an IB diploma, students would need to complete a comprehensive research paper and community service requirements.
Macaluso has undertaken personal research to determine if the IB program is suited for Hauppauge, including corresponding with several high schools and top-ranked national colleges opinion of IB in relation to AP.
“We do not prefer one over the other, but IB seems more advantageous for the student and allow them to enter with more credits than AP,” Macaluso read from Boston University letter.
Other college Macaluso corresponded with included University of Rochester of New York, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, and New York University.
If Hauppauge is accepted as an IB school, as early as this fall, the district plans to phase out the existing AP program with the exception of one or two areas where IB does not offer courses, according to assistant superintendent James Stucchio.
The estimated cost of retraining Haupauge teachers will cost $43,000 over three years with an ongoing fee of $9,500 a year for the program. Stucchio said it will not exceed the district’s budget for training or testing.
Concerns were voiced over how the district will handle beginning this new program this with impending budget cuts based on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget. How the school's transition would occur are in the final planning stages.
“We will continue to do our research. We will and will continue to ask for input from the community,” Hodosky said.
School officials will host an information session on the IB program on March 7 at 8 p.m. at the Hauppauge Middle School for those concerned and with remaining questions.