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Left-Over Textbook Money Sparks Debate



San Diego Unified school officials say there's a nine million dollar surplus in the district's textbook budget to buy more books. But the school board wants to use that money on other things. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The news the district has an extra nine million dollars in textbook money surprised school trustees.

Now the trustees are eyeing that pot of money, hoping to use it to save programs and services on the chopping block.

The problem is state funding for textbooks is a protected revenue stream and that means school districts can't spend it on other things.

But trustee Richard Barrera says its time San Diego Unified stand up to Sacramento's budget process and to the textbook industry.

“I think the issue that is textbook publishers are getting their voices heard in Sacramento," Barrera said. "Because everyone knows there is a better way to get instructional materials to students than to continue to purchase big heavy books.”

Those books include eighth-grade Algebra, a hotly contested requirement now in California. School officials warn the district might run into legal and legislative problems if they don't spend the money appropriately.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.


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