Of the $1.1 million worth of textbooks the Columbus Municipal School Board of Trustees has voted to purchase in the last six months, $34,547 currently stands as a waste.
Superintendent Dr. Philip Hickman told school board members Monday night during their monthly meeting that that number could drop to $19,937 if the district returns digital textbook subscriptions to a Jackson book company. Those subscriptions are worth $14,609, according to Hickman.
The superintendent’s update on the textbooks Monday shed light on a situation that school board members have questioned Hickman about since the fall.
In May, the school board approved $505,979 worth of textbook purchases under interim superintendent Edna McGill. Approximately $450,000 of that was to be used to buy books from School Book Supply Company of Mississippi, which is based in Jackson. Those books, however, did not fit the curriculum Hickman introduced to the district after he was chosen to lead CMSD later in the summer.
The remaining balance of $55,000 was either not spent by the district or spent elsewhere, according to Hickman.
In August, Hickman asked the school board to purchase $600,000 worth of McGraw Hill textbooks. The board agreed to do so, and Hickman indicated that the School Book Supply Company books would be returned to the company.
On Monday, however, Hickman told school board members that approximately $257,026 worth of the School Book Supply Company books will be kept by the district and incorporated into classrooms.
Last week, the district learned it would receive $159,610 back for books it returned to School Book Supply Company. The returned books had decreased in value roughly $34,547, according to Hickman.
The $159,610 the district has received for the returned books, Hickman said, has been placed into the district’s maintenance fund. If not used by the end of the school year, it will be rolled into the general fund.
Hickman told the board that CMSD is also considering returning to School Book Supply Company digital textbook subscriptions worth $14,609, which would leave the district out $19,937.
Hickman told board members Monday that he will give monthly status reports on the status of the returned money and remaining potential returns.