Local schools forced to teach without textbooks

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

 

 

 

 

BALLARD COUNTY, KY-  It is only the fourth day of classes at Ballard Memorial High School and already, resources are stretched.

"There hasn't been much choice," Schools Superintendent Casey Allen admitted Tuesday.

The state has not given the district a penny for textbooks for the third year in a row.  The dilemma is not all that uncommon, given the state's current financial troubles.

As it turns out, it is McCracken County Schools' second year without textbook funding.  Paducah City Schools have gone four years.  It has been three years at Graves County since they last received state dollars. But, the district has shelled out nearly $300,000 of their own to buy books.

After going without funding for four years, things are turning around in Livingston County.  The district received a grant to buy I-pads which they will be using in class for the first time this year.

Historically the state has paid for textbooks, as local taxpayer dollars covered other education expenses including teacher salaries and transportation.  State dollars continue to come in but they are earmarked for other areas including professional development and preschool education.

"Teachers will tell you resources are important and a textbook is a resource in the classroom. It's hard to go to them and tell them that resources won't be there," Superintendent Allen said.

No textbooks mean no teaching manuals. So, teachers are using a combination of on line sources and older, often outdated textbooks to create their own curriculum.

"We're putting in a lot of extra hours, finding materials, finding good things we want to teach.  We're still trying to get our subject matter taught," science teacher Billy Prince said.

The State Department of Education is considering a new computer system that encourages school districts to share on line resources. No word on when that system would be on line.

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