I understand the state pushed the responsibility of purchasing books onto the District. Hopefully, we could get a line item for books while trying to get the government to assume responsibility for basic educational needs.
(As an aside, I'm looking into this whole textbook replacement issue. It seems that some information told to me was wrong, namely that the state funds textbooks but only every 18 years.)
The district is embarking on early discussions about next year's budget so now is a good time to talk.
What struck me about the comment above was the term "basic educational needs." First, how do we define those? Off the top of my head:
- a clean, safe building
- qualified teachers/principal
- textbooks no older than 10 years old (especially for science and/or history/social studies)
- instructional materials (I don't even know if this still gets funded but paper, pencil, ruler, glue, crayons, stapler, etc)
- other instructional materials (workbooks, etc.)
- at least one computer in the classroom
- reading library in the room (for elementaries)
- available reading/research materials (library with computers, books and research docs available)
Second, if the state allots each district X amount of dollars (non-specified), should it be the district's duty to make sure those basic educational needs are satisfied first?
Third, should the state allot for each of the above items to districts or allow districts leeway to get the items as they see fit? So should it be the state's duty to keep up on what each district needs for textbooks or should the money just flow to the districts AND they decide when to replace books?
Lastly, how do you balance trying to create district-wide academic advancements via creating new initiatives versus making sure that that every classroom's basic educational needs are met?