New state curriculum to affect county’s future textbook purchases

Published 3:30 pm Friday, January 20, 2012

Back in November, the Alabama Board of Education voted and passed the common core state standards for math and English language arts making Alabama the 41st state to adopt this curriculum.

The point of the curriculum is to make these subjects the same nationwide. However, with these new standards, comes new books and some school systems just can’t afford the costs.

Butler County School’s Superintendent Darren Douthitt said Butler County’s process is closely connected to the state’s process.

“There is a course of study committee that convenes to tweak the course of study,” Douthitt said. “Once the committee is convened, people create a new course of study and what follows after that of course is the textbook adoption.”

Every year a new textbook is adopted, but due to lack of funding, even after the textbook is adopted, it is up to the school system to determine if and how many books will be purchased.

As for Butler County, Douthitt said he has not heard recently what will be happening with the common core curriculum, but it working to purchase books on an as-needed basis.

“We put a freeze on purchasing any textbooks already,” Douthitt said. “We haven’t done the wholesale of textbooks for some time. When I was in Lee County, we weren’t buying textbooks there, and I managed the textbook adoption committee. While we adopted the books, we only purchased the books as needed, and that continues here in Butler County.”

Douthitt said he thought there is not a lot of money coming into the Butler County Schools currently and he said the school system can spend about $15-20 on each student.

The ADM or the Average Daily Membership determines the amount of money allotted to each school district.

“System ADM represents the total, average daily enrollment for your system during the first twenty days after Labor Day of the school year reported to the State Department of Education by your system,” according to A Guide to State Allocation Calculations 2011-2012. “This ADM information is collected from your district’s student database by school.”

In the Fiscal Year of 2007, the State Department of Education had $50,151,041 for textbooks with a $67.5 ADM. For the 2012 year, it has been reduced to $11,825,775 with an ADM of $15.88 ADM. Of that about $11 million, Butler County is receiving $53,643 for textbooks.

“Teachers are being asked to find if there is something new to find that information on the Internet or other sources that will get us through this economic crisis,” Douthitt said.

As for the core curriculum, Douthitt has not heard recent details of how that will be added to new math books. However, with restraints on the State of Alabama and the allocation of monies, Douthitt said he’s trying to make the best decisions possible.

“When we get that funding, it’s up to us what will be purchased,” Douthitt said.
“What I did with my textbook coordinator was say ‘the money that we got this year, we’re going to use for the elementary because they are the foundation for our learning so let’s take care of their needs first. What’s left we’ll plug in here or there throughout the county for the secondary.’”

Douthitt said he is hopeful for a day that students and school systems won’t have to worry about purchasing textbooks.

“That textbook is something on our network, on our website and in the hands of the students who have an iPad or laptop or even a Kindle. I’m hopeful for the at day when that happens, I think it will be more engaging for students to manage textbooks and their work through their use of electronic device.”