The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

June 15, 2007

District to spend $55,000 on textbooks

SUNBURY -- The Shikellamy School District plans to spend $55,000 on textbooks this year to meet academic standards set by the state.

The money will be used strictly for social studies textbooks, which is just the second curriculum the district has so far rewritten to meet the state standards.

According to director of education Pamela Emery, the standards came out several years ago, but the district is just now updating its curriculums.

In order to meet some of the state standards, the district will have to buy books, most of which are for the elementary schools. The new curriculum is required for all grades, from kindergarten through 12th, but not every grade will need new textbooks.

"Every grade except kindergarten needed new stuff," she said. Other than fifth grade, all the other elementary classes have been using the same social studies books for the last eight years or more, the last time a rewrite was done for the social studies curriculum.

At the middle school, she said, "the books had been rebound so many times you couldn't read the page numbers."

The district also will enter into a pilot program with certain textbook companies, whereby the district will be able to use certain books for an entire year at no charge. If the teachers like the books, the district can buy them for the following year, Ms. Emery said.

She included the potential cost for purchasing the pilot program books in the budget she presented to the board Thursday night. Depending on what books the fifth-grade teachers choose, the cost could be $75,000 or $80,000 next year.

Some school board members were upset that they weren't made aware of these figures sooner.

"You knew you were writing a new curriculum, why didn't you bring this to us in, say, January?" board member Jeff Persing asked Ms. Emery.

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