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Subtraction may hurt math hotline

Budget cuts put the student lifeline's future in doubt.

By Elisabeth Dyer, Times Staff Writer
Published November 9, 2007



When your child's math homework has you stumped, too, the Education Channel's Math Homework Hotline has free help.

For 14 years, elementary to high school students have called in for one-on-one tutoring. Local schoolteachers have explained math concepts to more than 25,000.

But funding cuts threaten the popular program.

"We're hobbling along," said Laura Tierney, marketing director for the Education Channel.

Responding to calls for property tax cuts this summer, the county trimmed its $519,000 contribution to the nonprofit to $250,000, with no future promises for help.

The Education Channel started 20 years ago through contributions from Hillsborough County and Tampa governments. The city has not cut its contribution of $250,000 a year. The channel added Math Homework Hotline 14 years ago. The program, which has won many awards, won't be cut this year, Tierney said. Officials are unsure whether they will be able to continue the program after that.

Teachers answer questions from all grade levels and select certain problems that district math teachers Hanna G. Hanna and Tammy Rush work through live on the program. Topics covered in the TV program focus on middle school curriculum and FCAT questions from past years.

"Middle school is critical, as you move into algebra, to be able to do calculus, trigonometry and geometry," Tierney said.

The hotline airs at 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday during the school year. Teachers are available to answer questions from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on these days.

Call (813) 254-2253 or watch on Bright House Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 32.

[Last modified November 8, 2007, 07:13:41]

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