The Board of Education for Maury County Public Schools has voted to postpone the purchase of more than $400,000 in school books for students.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Ron Woodard said the school district has missed two book adoption cycles in mathematics. The proposal includes new books for Algebra I, the school district’s foreign-language requirements and outdated ELA resources.
“We are about 12 years behind in mathematics,” Woodard told school board members. “We are at the point now where if we want to see higher progress and better academic outcomes, we need the materials to do this. If we found a surplus and we have needs, let’s use that surplus and get it in the hands of the kids. Let’s not have the children wait. They need the textbooks now.”
The texts budgeted for the proposal include foreign languages and mathematics approved by a textbook selection committee comprised educators and school leaders.
After failing in a vote during Monday’s school board meeting, the subject will be reviewed during an upcoming school board work session.
“I want input from the teachers,” said board member Kristen Parker. “I don’t think we are looking at things holistically. If we are trying to move ourselves out of the bottom 5%, I think we need to work on the things that we are being evaluated on. We are dealing with some scarce resources. I will not support this until we are able to talk to the teachers and find out what it is that is going to move the needle for these kids.”
The school board previously denied a $1.5 million proposal to purchase new textbooks for the district.
“If you want to go to college you need two years of foreign language, so we need them now,” Woodard said. “We have books that have books than have been in use for 15 years. We have books that are so old they are falling apart. Let’s get the resources in the hands of kids.”
The assistant superintendent said he is in full support of hosting round-table discussions with educators.
Parker emphasized that those students who are using the aging books are still passing their classes.
“When we talk about need, I don’t know that is what I would prioritize,” Parker said. “The people who are in the classroom with children everyday know what they need. I think we are just throwing money at the people right now without even knowing the results we want. I want to see results, and to be honest, I have not seen results from the chief academic advisor or the chief executive for the district. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask for more information on this stuff.”
Woodard said results will come over time, urging board members to give the students the additional resources.
“The results will come with time,” Woodard said. “We will get there a lot faster if the students have the resources they need and teachers have the resources they need. I ask for your support to make sure that we move forward.”
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