Battle over school textbook funding

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)- Parents in Pitt County are calling on lawmakers to fork over some more money for school textbooks—-already on a decline.

Marvin Fraiser and his 5th-grade-daughter Kristen are a team when it comes to trouble shooting homework problems. But lately, those problems have been more frequent than Fraiser expects.

“The biggest problem I see every night is when homework comes in and she only has a half-sheet of pape,” Fraiser said.

Kristen, a student at Sam-Bundy Elementary isn’t allowed to bring her textbooks home. The school says it’s because they don’t have enough to go around.

“I was shocked and I did a little research and I found out that textbooks have been on a decline for the last seven years,” Sandra Shephard, a parent said.

In 2009, textbook funding was $117 million, since it dropped to around $22 million.

The legislature blames this drop on the digital textbook transition, where all students are expected to have access to computers or tablets.

“Over half my classmates at JH Rose and even in middle and elementary school don’t have access to computers,” Caroline Daughtery, a sophomore said.

Daughtery’s mother is a member of the Pitt County School Board. She’s bothered by the condition of most of the school’s textbooks.

“There were pages missing, there was writing all in the textbooks, funding should have been maintained in the transition.” Daughtery said.

“I think that eventually it will happen but it’s quite a ways down the road.” Shephard added. “Every child would need an iPad or a tablet, every child would have to have internet access and right now that’s not going to happen.”

The house added $48 million for textbooks, but there’s a chance the senate may leave it as is.

If that’s the case, Pitt County will not have enough to purchase a new set of elementary math books.

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