In The Classroom

School districts suffer delays for textbooks

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some students are starting the new school year without new textbooks. The delay may not seem like such a big deal, but it might be for students who need to do homework.

As classes wrapped up at Tomball Intermediate School, we caught up to parents.

"I'm very frustrated," said mother Jennifer Richbourg. "But what can you do?"

Parents are still trying to make sense of the message they received from Tomball ISD telling them that their children will not have all the new textbooks which have been ordered.

"It's very concerning," said Richbourg. "The kids have to wait and I don't know what they're learning."

According to this letter sent home from Tomball Superintendent John Neubauer, the delay in getting new books to the classrooms is due to "...legislative cut backs..."

A Texas Education Agency spokesperson says the problem is rooted in the legislature's delay in funding and changes in the way purchases are made. As a result, books couldn't be ordered in the spring as they generally are. Most orders were just made this month.

Districts across Texas are now using books and other materials they already have on hand while they wait for new books.

Fort Bend ISD CFO Tracy Hoke said, "This textbook we are currently using is several years old. They do need the new materials."

Officials at Fort Bend ISD expressed some frustration with the delay. The new books they say contain different lessons. While the district is receiving some of the books ordered, an average of three semi truck loads of new books a day&

"They have to be catalogued, inventoried -- have to be inventoried and distributed to campuses," Hoke explained. "They may be in the district, but it will probably take several more weeks to get them out to campuses."

The school districts are asking for patience, something many parents are having trouble finding.

"If you're going to start school, you need to have the books right then," said one parent.

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