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Chapter 4
Financial Management

This chapter reviews the financial management and purchasing functions of the Venus Independent School District (VISD) in the following sections:

  1. Organization and Management
  2. Planning and Budgeting
  3. Accounting and Payroll
  4. Tax Collections
  5. Purchasing Operations
  6. Contract Management
  7. Textbooks


G. TEXTBOOK OPERATIONS

TEA is responsible for selecting and purchasing most textbooks used in Texas school districts. Each year, TEA provides districts with a list of recommended textbooks, buys the textbooks from publishers and loans them to districts. Each district’s established textbook adoption committee follows TEA guidelines to select the textbooks the district will order. The decision to order is made at a local level and TEA does not monitor textbook use.

The number of books that TEA allows per subject and grade level is based upon student enrollment information that districts submit to TEA through PEIMS. Districts base their annual orders for instructional materials on the maximum number of students enrolled in the district during the previous school year and/or registered to attend district schools during the next school year.

Textbook orders are due to TEA by April 1 each year. Districts may submit supplemental orders after the annual order deadline and throughout the year. TEA gives districts the opportunity to report exceptions to PEIMS data if the district officials feel that the information is incorrect. Each district is responsible for returning borrowed textbooks to the TEA. If textbooks are lost during the school year, the district compensates the state for any textbook losses. Districts have the option of recovering lost-textbook costs from students, parents or guardians. The district’s designated textbook coordinator is responsible for these duties.

The director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation handles textbooks in VISD. The district places textbook orders using TEA’s Educational Materials and Textbooks online textbook requisition system. The district may order up to 100 percent of its maximum student enrollment for the grade or subject for which it is ordering student editions. The state allows districts to overestimate their orders by 10 percent. If the school orders above that amount and does not return the books when due back to TEA, the district may be held responsible for purchasing the books.

VISD bases its textbook orders on the highest level of enrollment for the preceding school year. If textbook shortages occur outside of the annual order deadline, VISD orders are placed as requested by the principals. TEA delivers new textbooks to the middle school where the director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation unpacks, inventories and distributes the books during the summer.

The review team administered textbook surveys to students, parents, teachers, campus administration, district administrators and support personnel. Exhibit 4-21 shows that the surveyed groups agreed, or strongly agreed, that VISD textbooks are delivered in a timely manner and in good condition.

Exhibit 4-21
Quality of Textbook Materials
Survey Results
Agree or Strongly Agree
Survey Statement Principals Administrative and Support Personnel Teachers Parents Students
Students are issued textbooks in a timely manner. 100% 60% 71% 87% 84%
Textbooks are in good shape. 100% 53% 67% 87% 57.8%

Source: TSPR Survey, February 2003.

Textbooks ordered through TEA are the property of the state; the school board is the legal custodian of those textbooks. VISD requires teachers to report lost or damaged books to the school principal.


FINDING

VISD has no textbook inventory or management system. School administrators do not receive textbook inventory lists to verify inventory shipments. School administrators or secretaries compile textbook inventory information manually. VISD does not compile these inventory reports into a districtwide report. The district does not have annual districtwide inventory reports available. The director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation said schools take an inventory once a year and report the textbook inventory count to the director. The director does not maintain annual records of these reports and does not verify the inventories.

VISD charges students for any textbooks they lose or do not return during the year. The district’s record keeping for lost textbooks consists of a deposit slip completed when the student pays for the textbook. Staff members turn this deposit slip into the central office; central office staff add it to the count of lost textbooks. The district does not track textbook losses cumulatively or from year to year. The district could not identify its total textbook losses.

Without an effective textbook management system, the district cannot ensure that schools are adequately supplied and textbooks are properly safeguarded from loss. Principals and school secretaries have to rely on word-of-mouth to learn how to handle and coordinate their textbook responsibilities. Comprehensive textbook procedures manuals usually include the following topics:

  • board policies related to textbooks;
  • role of the textbook custodian and textbook clerks;
  • textbook selection committee guidelines and procedures;
  • textbook quotas;
  • textbook number and stamping procedures;
  • textbook requisition procedures;
  • textbook shipment verification requirements;
  • shipping error procedures;
  • guidelines for bookrooms, including environment, security and how to stack textbooks ;
  • information on book covers;
  • transferring textbooks from one school to another;
  • distribution of textbooks in the schools;
  • textbook audit procedures;
  • responsibilities for textbooks;
  • lost or damaged textbook procedures;
  • year-end physical inventory procedures;
  • out-of-adoption textbook procedures; and
  • textbook inventory software procedures.

In Kenedy ISD, the textbook coordinator developed and uses a textbook manual that provides detailed guidance on how to manage the district’s textbook needs. The manual helps that district to comply with applicable textbook rules and regulations. It also provides a single reference for answers to textbook questions. The folder contains all correspondence from TEA’s textbook division; a requisition packet for the next school year; downloadable textbook materials such as questions and answers to commonly asked questions pertaining to out-of-adoption textbooks, surplus materials and rules and regulations; instructions for supplemental requests for textbooks; and district policies and procedures including the annual inventory.

Recommendation 31:

Develop and implement a textbook inventory and management system.

The district should implement a textbook inventory system and require school personnel responsible for textbooks to report all missing textbooks immediately. The director for Operations, Maintenance and Transportation, or his designated representative, should maintain a list of all lost textbooks, dollar amounts collected and annual payments to TEA.


IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The superintendent directs the director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation to develop standardized procedures for textbook inventory and management.
August 2003
2. The director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation develops and documents the district’s procedures for textbook inventory and management. September 2003
3. The director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation submits the procedures to the superintendent and business manager for review and approval. October 2003
4. The director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation distributes the procedures and trains principals and clerical staff. November 2003
5. The director of Operations, Maintenance and Transportation ensures that staff follows the procedures and updates the procedures annually. November 2003 and Ongoing


FISCAL IMPACT

This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.