Math coach paid up to $1,000 a day

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By Steve Waters, Sports Editor

The School Board of Levy County approved a contract for a math coach consultant on Tuesday night that could total as much as $60,000 for as many as 60 days of coaching.

The contract will authorize consultant Roberta Dilocker to be a math consultant that will primarily focus on Williston High School for 30 days, and other Levy County schools for an additional 30 days, if approved.

Williston received an “F” grade last school year, and much of the initial improvement is focused on improving performance in math.

The funding for Dilocker’s services will come from the school district’s general funds, with half to be reimbursed by federal funds, pending grant approval.

Much of Tuesday evening’s meeting was focused on a sometimes tense debate over whether to approve Dilocker’s contract. Board member Rick Turner, representing District 5, Yankeetown, supported the idea of outside help, but questioned the cost considering that another coaching program was available for about $700 a day, compared to $1,000 a day for Dilocker’s services. Superintendent Bob Hastings replied that Dilocker performs math coaching throughout Florida and comes highly recommended.

“I have not met anybody, other than Roberta Dilocker, who can provide the expertise that we desperately need,” Hastings said.

Board member G. Frank Etheridge, District 3, Williston, had concerns over whether 30 or even 60 days would be enough to show tangible results with students. Beth Davis, District 2, Cedar Key, suggested that an additional 30 days at other schools could benefit students throughout the county.

“I believe there are schools in our district, other than Williston, that are in trouble,” Davis said.

The motion to approve Dilocker’s contract carried unanimously.

The debate followed a presentation by assistant superintendent Dr. Gina Tovine on the current focus of the county’s Instructional Team, which is planning for new standards and curriculum maps for science, math, reading and social studies. Tovine added that math and reading updates, including new math textbook adoption, were already underway.

The School Board also approved new health insurance plans for 2010. Donna Turner of the insurance committee, presented the groups recommendations to the board, which included canceling the $500 deductible plan in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida medical coverage and adding a $1,500 deductible plan as a base plan for employees.

Turner said that if left unchanged, the School Board would have faced a 10.6 percent increase in costs.