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BOE to continue conversation about textbook shortage

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Emotions ran high on Sept. 10, as the Clayton County Board of Education asked members of the school system's administration why there was a shortage of roughly 4,500 textbooks.

After a lengthy question and answer session, which included one board member accusing administrators of having no integrity, the board agreed to continue the discussion at tonight's board work session. It is scheduled to be the first topic of tonight's meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., at the school system's central administration complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro.

The majority of the shortage is at seven of the county's eight high schools, where over 4,000 books in world history, science and math were in short supply earlier this month.

Students had access to textbooks in the classroom, but they could not take the books home because of the shortage. They could only take home photocopies from the books.

One of the issues raised on Sept. 10, was the failure of principals to report all of the textbooks they had in their supply closets. Some administrators were telling school system officials they had no extra textbooks, but visits to those schools revealed hidden stashes of books. The school district forced those principals to hand over those textbooks to students at other schools.

Charles White, a spokesman for the school system, did not have details about what would specifically be addressed at tonight's meeting, but he did say the school system is trying to find a permanent solution to the problem.

"We are working to develop a management plan that will work with textbook software we are purchasing to track textbooks," White said. "This won't happen again."

Other agenda items the board is scheduled to discuss include converting E. W. Oliver Elementary School into a charter school; allocating funds for students participating in state and local competitions; the 2009 capital outlay application; awarding the bid for the addition at Mundy's Mill High School, a resolution from the construction department regarding Rex Mill Middle School.

Board members will also hear about elite scholars and ninth-grade transition.