Textbook funds dry up in Texas

March 5, 2009
Value of account used to buy materials has plummeted 22% in 6 months

A major obstacle to textbook purchases for Texas public schools over the next two years is the huge drop in the value of the state's education trust fund since last fall. The market value of the Permanent School Fund, whose earnings on stocks and other investments are used to purchase textbooks and instructional materials, has plummeted 22 percent in the last six months to $18 billion.Unless the trust fund regains value, no money will be available for textbooks. Sstate education officials and lawmakers at one time were counting on getting $1.2 billion from the fund. Some funds may be available through the new federal stimulus package. As much as $6 billion has been allocated for education in Texas.
Read The Dallas Morning News article.

SIDEBAR: Advocates for more technology in the classroom – and fewer textbooks – are trying to convince Texas lawmakers that the future of electronic textbooks is now. The technology push is getting a boost from a special House committee that warned about the consequences if Texas is stuck in the past when it comes to classroom materials. Among the reasons: the higher cost of printed books, the expense of transporting and storing them, and the fact that they can be outdated before students get them. The proposed legislation would give school districts more leverage to purchase electronic textbooks.
Read The Dallas Morning News article.

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