Textbooks arrive 7 weeks after school starts

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 15, 2008

Some fourth- and fifth-graders in Vicksburg Warren public schools were getting math textbooks today, seven weeks after the beginning of classes.

The books, on back order from Harcourt Education in Orlando, Fla., since July, arrived Friday and distribution was to begin immediately, educators said.

“Harcourt did not anticipate the demand and did not have enough to cover what had been ordered,” Superintendent James Price said. “We ordered and then after that we really don’t have control.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The missing math books are part of a newly adopted math program that proved to be popular as the books were back-ordered nationwide. The shipping delay left students at Bowmar, Warren Central Intermediate and Bovina elementary schools using worksheets and CDs to learn math skills.

“We did have the teachers’ books but not the children’s books,” said Bowmar fifth-grade math teacher Amy Wilkes. “I printed out copies and used old workbooks. Now I am worried about how hard it will be to jump into the book. But it’s good to have them here. It will be great for parents to have examples and resources so they can better help their kids.”

Bowmar principal Tammy Burris said she has a child in Wilkes’ class and knows firsthand how well her teachers handled the delay.

“The teachers here were really able to rise to the occasion,” Burris said. “This wasn’t a situation where they were sitting in the class doing nothing while they were waiting for the books to come in. The teaching never stopped. The books are just something they use to supplement what they are already doing.”

The school district spent about $689,000 this year updating and restocking textbooks, compared to last year’s $614,000. The new fourth- and fifth-grade math books cost about $58 each.  

“This is not because of something the schools didn’t do,” said Laura Prather, district textbook coordinator. “They put their orders in in early July and the anticipated delivery is two weeks, so there was plenty of time for the books to come in. I know Jackson experienced this problem as well and received their books only last week.”