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Columbus High resolves textbook shortage


Sarah Fowler



For the first 11 weeks of the current school year, students at Columbus High School did not have a textbook they could take home. As of Monday, that problem has been remedied, however. 


Deputy Superintendent Craig Shannon confirmed that due to budget shortfalls, not every student had a textbook to take home for U.S. history, biology, algebra and English when classes started in August. 


"Because of past budget issues, decisions were made to purchase just classroom sets for subjects that were not tested by the state," Shannon said. 


With more than 1,150 students at Columbus High, the parent association approached the board during Monday night's school board meeting to question why there were not enough books for every student to bring home. 


Shannon said the last batch of textbooks were delivered on Monday and the problem should be rectified. The total budget for the textbooks is $164,425.28. 


"Now that the budget has allowed for us to put a textbook in every child's hands, we have made steps to fill that need," he said. "To our knowledge, every child has a textbook to take home. If this is not the case, parents are encouraged to contact their principals as soon as possible to get that situation corrected." 


Shannon said despite the fact that not every student had a textbook to take home, he does not feel grades suffered. 


"Any time a child or parent requested to take a textbook home they were allowed to do so." 


The scarcity of text books in a problem not confined to Columbus, though.  


A shortage of textbooks is a problem all across the country. According to a survey by the National Education Association and the Association of American Publishers, one out of six elementary and secondary schoolteachers who use textbooks in their classes say they do not have enough books for every child in their class. And nearly one in three teachers report they do not have enough textbooks so that all pupils can take a textbook home. 


The results are part of a June NEA/AAP survey of 1,000 teachers nationwide. The purpose of the survey was to learn more about how instructional materials are being used in schools. The survey shows little change from a similar survey by the NEA and AAP in 1996. 


Recent analyses performed by AAP show that state spending for textbooks varies from 2.3 percent to 0.5 percent of total education expenditures. The average of all the states is 1 percent.


Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.



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