Hastings says district cannot meet state goal

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By Steve Waters

   During his closing remarks at Tuesday's School Board of Levy County meeting, Superintendent Bob Hastings voiced his support for changing the state's class-size amendment.
   Hastings said that there was "no way" the district could meet the amendment's requirements this year, which means the state could impose penalties that could total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"There's no way we're going to meet it 100 percent," Hastings said. "One size does not fit all."
Hastings voiced his support for a proposal on the ballot in November that would alter the amendment, lessening the burden on districts that don't strictly meet the amendment's requirements. A school that has a few extra kids in a class, for example, won't be penalized.
   "As this comes on the ballot, I wish that every citizen in the state of Florida will consider what right educationally, and what is right financially, and make a decision that will help all of us."
   Also during Tuesday's meeting, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gina Tovine presented the board with an update to the district's plans for the federal Race to the Top program.
   The program is expected to bring in $1,123,479 in federal funds over four years to Levy County schools. The money is to be used for amending student learning standards, modernizing technology and updating teacher evaluations, among other things.
   Dr. Tovine said teams of administrators and teachers are currently developing its plans for how the district will use the money. A written document outlining the plan is expected to be submitted to the state's Department of Education on Oct. 11.
   Adam Hall, from the city of Williston, also presented to the board the city's plan for adding a 10-Megawatt solar power plant near the airport. Hall said the plant will cut down on costs for residents and benefit the environment.
    The school board voiced its approval of the plan, unanimously voting to submit a letter of support for the program. As superintendent, Hastings also said he would submit a letter of support.
   Student government representatives from Cedar Key School, Bronson Middle/High and Chiefland High were in attendance during Tuesday's meeting to see firsthand how the school board works.