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District set to purchase new textbooks

So much for summer meaning no more pencils, no more books. At Lake Havasu City schools, district officials are penciling out the final figures on new textbooks.

The Lake Havasu Unified School District will adopt a new high school language arts textbook in July, marking the first new textbook adoption in some time. The books will replace aging curriculum that is no longer available for purchase.

However, replacements come at a price. Major publishers charge a minimum of $100 per textbook, says Superintendent Diana Asseier.

“We know they are expensive, and we’ve got some criticism for how much we’ve allocated for the adoption,” Asseier said. “I think it was almost $200,000, just in case, because we were not sure how much it would cost.”

Some of the costs of the new textbook will be paid through Federal Secure Rural Schools funding, which provides assistance to rural counties and school districts affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on federal lands.

In the past, the cost of textbook adoptions have been assisted by a state program called District Additional Assistance, but that money has been swept away for other programs in recent years, officials said. Over the last several years, District Additional Assistance for Havasu schools has been cut by approximately 85 percent, said Michael Murray, director of business services.

“We qualify for approximately $2.4 million in DAA annually,” Murray said. “With the reduction in place, we’ve only received a little over $300,000.”

This year’s state budget outlined a plan to begin reducing the DAA cuts annually and completely eliminating them by 2022. For 2018-19, Havasu schools will begin seeing the effects of the change in legislation.

“I’m working on the budget at this time and preliminary numbers indicate we’ll see an increase of approximately $500,000, for a total of somewhere between $800,000 to $900,000,” Murray said.

The restoration in future funding is welcomed by district officials who also felt the need to act now on fixing the most pressing need by paying for it out-of-pocket.

“Part of the reason we’ve held off looking at textbooks is the standards were changing,” Asseier said. “Now that we have the last revision of the English language arts standards we felt it was a good time to start at the high school because we have the most desperate need there. Part of the work with our schools is keeping them up to date.”

 

by David Louis, Today's News Herald : Jun 11, 2018

School Supplies


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