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Onondaga Community College to offer intensive Spanish program in Guatemala

Students experience full immersion while living with local families

Picture yourself clambering over ancient Mayan pyramids deep in the jungle, scrambling up an active volcano or wandering through orderly rows of red berried coffee trees.

Syracuse Press Club to award $2,000 scholarship

The 2014 DeVesty-Williams Scholarship will be awarded in early May by members of the Syracuse Press Club at its annual awards banquet. This $2,000 scholarship will be given to one full-time undergraduate student, who is majoring in print or broadcast journalism at a college/university in the Syracuse Press Club service area. The student scholarship recipient also must be a permanent resident of one of the following counties: Onondaga, Madison, Cortland, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Herkimer, Oneida, Otsego, Delaware, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, Wayne, Seneca, Schuyler and Yates. A student’s college residence is not considered a permanent residence. All students who fit the above criteria are encouraged to apply.

Liverpool proposes 2.31 tax increase in 2014-15

In a very preliminary presentation, Liverpool Central School District Mark Potter gave the board of education some expectation of what the 2014-15 budget will look like. According to Potter’s presentation, the total budget for next year is $138,641,389, up 2.11 percent from last year. With revenues down about $359,795 and the expected use of $2,500,000 in money from the district’s fund balance, Potter anticipates a tax increase of 2.3089 percent for next year. But Potter stressed that these numbers are not final. He’s left some gaps as the district waits to hear the final numbers from the state budget, due April 1, as well as some of its own health insurance costs, which remain unknown.

North Syracuse proposes 1.4 percent budget increase

Taxpayers in North Syracuse are looking at a 2.25 percent increase for the 2014-15 school year, according to the initial budget presented to the North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education Monday, Feb. 24. According to the presentation, given by Assistant Superintendent for Management Donald Keegan, the district is facing a 3.6 percent decrease in building aid from New York state. That coupled with increased costs in salaries, benefits, equipment and BOCES shared services agreements have resulted in the need to increase the tax levy by $1,763,319, while cutting programs by $1,716,879. The total budget proposed for 2014-15 is $145,479,106, a 1.4 percent budget-to-budget increase from last year.

Local high school students memorize monologues for competition

Two local high-school students will be among 19 contestants in the 26th annual Shakespeare Competition from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 1, at Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage. The public-speaking contest conducted by the Syracuse branch of the English-Speaking Union of the United States will commemorating William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

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LMS orchestra composes piece for upcoming Symphoria concert

Over the last few weeks, members of the Liverpool Middle Orchestra have been hard at work composing an ode to nature. As part of Symphoria’s educational outreach program, the seventh and eighth grade musicians from LMS were asked to think about the sounds they hear in nature and write an eight-measure phrase using the New York State School Music Association’s Level 1 and 2 sight-reading guidelines. Once the phrases were compiled, the students sight-read each one and selected two themes — one written by LMS seventh-grader Zoyie Baldwin and the other by eighth-grader Catrina Tulowiecki — to use as the foundation for their own musical composition.

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The Common Core kerfuffle continues

The New York State Board of Regents has approved a plan to delay the full implementation of the state’s Common Core graduation requirements until the Class of 2022 — current fourth-graders — instead of the Class of 2017 — current ninth-graders — as had been originally intended. The shift means that those students currently in fourth grade across the state will have to take and pass five Common Core-aligned exams in order to graduate. Students now in ninth grade will have to take five Common Core exams, but they won’t have to meet what the state calls "college- and career-ready standards" in order to graduate; they’ll just have to pass the tests at a level similar to getting a 65 on current Regents exams.

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CNY SBA to hold forum on schools’ fiscal crisis Feb. 4, 5

School districts in Central New York and beyond are in trouble, and it’s time we do something about it. That’s the message behind a pair of forums to be held Feb. 4 and 5 in Auburn and North Syracuse by the Central New York School Boards Association (CNY SBA) in conjunction with the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison, Cayuga-Onondaga, Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga and Oswego County BOCES. The forums, which will take place at Auburn West Middle School and North Syracuse Junior High School, respectively, will focus on the major factors causing those financial issues and how school administrators, teachers and community members can make a difference.

Voters approve OCM BOCES facilities referendum

Local voters have agreed to OCM BOCES’ proposed facilities referendum with a 93 percent approval. One thousand four hundred and one votes were cast, with the final tally being 1.293 yes votes and 105 no votes on the referendum, which called for the purchase of the former Nationwide Insurance building in Salina and which will not increase costs for any of its 23 local component school districts.

LCSD moves kindergarten registration to March

The Liverpool Central School District is moving its district-wide kindergarten registration night from May to March 13.

LETTER: Bread donation yields thanks

To the editor: On behalf of the CanTeen and the Cicero Senior Center, I would like to thank Mrs. Heidi Hobbs and her seventh grade Family and Consumer Science classes at Gillette Road Middle School for their very generous donation of well over 70 loaves of delicious homemade bread that the students baked.

OCM-BOCES to hold referendum on building purchase

On Thursday, Jan. 23, voters in 23 school districts across three counties will be asked to go to the polls to approve a building purchase that will have no impact on their wallets. Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES is looking to purchase the former Nationwide Insurance building, located at 110 Elwood Davis Road in the town of Salina. According to BOCES information officer Laurie Cook, the purchase would allow OCM-BOCES to relocate several programs now housed in leased space.

Cicero-North Syracuse forced to move graduation ceremony

Thanks to a mysterious booking change at the Onondaga County War Memorial, Cicero-North Syracuse High School has had to change the date and location of its 2014 graduation ceremony. The ceremony, originally scheduled for the evening of Friday, June 27, at the War Memorial, will now take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 28 at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College. The Onondaga County War Memorial notified the district that they were canceling all events during the weekend of June 27.

NSCSD hosts information session on state curriculum

About 30 people attended a public listening session Thursday, Jan. 9, at Roxboro Road Middle School in Mattydale to learn more about Common Core. The informational session was one of several hosted throughout the year by the North Syracuse Central School District, though this one had a more specific focus than the others.

NSCSD to present public listening session at RRMS

The North Syracuse Central School District will hold a public listening session at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, at Roxboro Road Middle School (300 Bernard St.) in Mattydale. The focus of the session will be to provide information about Common Core Curriculum.