Groveport Madison students could be ditching their science textbooks for electronic versions if a new science curriculum is approved at the April 23 school board meeting.
A consortium of teachers and administrators from the district's elementary through high school buildings have spent the past year reviewing new science curriculum materials, aimed at meeting updated state standards with the added goal of also saving the district money.
Director of School Improvement Monique Hamilton told the school board at its April 9 meeting the group is proposing a set of curriculum materials, teacher professional development and classroom technology upgrades to supplement the materials, at a cost of just over $600,000.
District Treasurer Tony Swartz said the initial amount budgeted for the new material was $800,000.
"We're looking at spending just over $600,000 by the time we're done with this new science curriculum adoption, and we're looking to pass a levy, so I know some people are asking how we can spend this money," Swartz said.
"We have a permanent improvement fund which has restrictions on how it can be spent; textbooks and materials is one thing we're locked into spending this on."
Hamilton said the group managed to negotiate a six-year agreement for the curriculum materials instead of the standard five years. In addition, she said, the school district will receive consumables and training at no additional cost over the life of the agreement.
"The teacher professional development will train them on what the materials include and how to set up their lesson plans for it, and how to use the test generators and platforms," Hamilton said.
"Currently, for the math curriculum consumables, I spend about $55,000 to $60,000 a year. Consumables are only good for one year because they are things like workbooks a student writes in or online material licenses."
The proposal calls for Smartboards and digital projector units to be purchased for each science classroom to supplement the more online-focused curriculum, Hamilton said. She explained that these items would be paid for using grant money at a cost of $3,500 per classroom.
School board members raised concerns about the focus on online materials, because some students could lack access to them. Hamilton said physical textbooks and materials would also be included at no additional charge to be checked out to students requiring them.
Hamilton also said that because the distribution center for the new curriculum materials is based in Groveport, the district would also save a few thousand dollars on shipping costs by picking up the materials directly.
If the board votes to approve the new curriculum at its April 23 meeting, the district will begin using the new materials this coming fall.